Colin Barnett Has Pulled Out A Huge Trump Card Against Woodside Petroleum In The Debate Over Browse

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Western Australia premier Colin Barnett has warned Woodside Petroleum it may not be able to sell gas from its Browse project in the state’s north, as the government controls more than a quarter of the leases.

Woodside this year abandoned plans for a $40 billion LNG plant at James Price Point in the Kimberley, opting instead to explore floating pipelines which would see the gas processed at sea — earning the ire of the state.

Now in an interview with The Australian newspaper, Barnett has made it clear he’s playing for keeps, warning Woodside his government may be able to block the sale of the gas.

“At the moment I don’t see how the Browse project could sell gas to an international customer because it doesn’t have clear ownership of that gas,” he said.

“It does on the commonwealth leases, but not on the state leases.

“We believe that is about 30 per cent of the Torosa field, or in other words about 15 per cent of the whole project — that’s not insignificant.

“Those retention leases run through until November 2014 and we are not intending to amend them.”

Meanwhile, last week credit agency Standard & Poor’s revoked Western Australia’s top-tier tripe-A credit rating, on concerns there was not enough “political will” to reduce government debt.

There is more here.

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