Drifting rig disrupts Woodside LNG terminal

Drifting rig disrupts Woodside LNG terminal

WOODSIDE Petroleum suspended production at its Pluto liquefied natural gas plant in Western Australia after a drilling rig broke loose during a cyclone and drifted too close to the plant’s infrastructure.

Woodside (WPL) said the precautionary measure was taken after a submersible rig under contract to the Chevron-led Wheatstone LNG project was torn from its moorings last week and floated towards the Pluto plant’s flow lines.


The Pluto plant is Woodside’s biggest earnings generator, contributing more than $3.1 billion of the company’s $5.9 billion in earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation last year.

The company said underwater inspections had not found any damage to the Pluto flow lines and production would resume once the rig has been moved away from the plant.

New York-listed Atwood Oceanics said its rig, the Atwood Osprey, had parted “several” mooring lines and drifted around three nautical miles during last week’s tropical cyclone Olwyn.

“The rig is currently stable with a support vessel in position, and preliminary results indicate minimal damage with an estimated maximum of 30 days out of service time for repairs,” the company said in a statement.

The rig was in the process of drilling a well that will eventually feed into the Wheatstone project, currently being built at a cost of around $35 billion.

Woodside late last year bought a 13 per cent stake in Wheatstone along with a 50 per cent interest in the undeveloped Kitimat LNG project in British Columbia as part of a $US2.75 billion deal with Apache Energy.


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