Woodside Has Killed Its $40 Billion LNG Project -- What Did Colin Barnett Know?

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Woodside has, as widely expected, confirmed it is shelving its Browse LNG project in Western Australia in a statement to the ASX.

For the phrase “widely expected”, please read “it was on page 1 of The Australian Financial Review“.

But here’s a curious thing.

The West Australian reported this morning that both Canberra and the WA government were informed this was happening yesterday.

(Probably why it was on the front page of the Fin.)

But there’s a very specific line in the West’s story by Andrew Probyn, Peter Kerr and Gareth Parker, about WA Premier Colin Barnett denying there had been a decision to shelve project yesterday.

Asked by Opposition Leader Mark McGowan if he had received advice in the past week from the joint venture partners that the project would not proceed, Mr Barnett said: “I have not received advice to that effect from the joint venture partners at all. At all.”

In News Ltd’s coverage over at PerthNow they also highlight Barnett’s apparent ignorance of a major economic decision affecting his state that journalists were calling people about yesterday afternoon.

They use the cross-heading “Premier Unaware”.

And the story adds that News Ltd “revealed in January that the proposed LNG hub in the Kimberley was unlikely to proceed because of escalating costs that threatened its profitability”.

Barnett told McGowan that he didn’t have information about the shelving “from the joint venture partners”.

He knew all right. Exactly who told him might be a different matter.

Let’s see how Barnett explains.

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