Woodside's profit soars

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

Woodside Petroleum’s full-year profit soared on a rebound in oil and gas prices.

Net profit in 2016 rose to $US868 million ($AU1.1 billion), a massive rise on 2015’s $US26 million. The earnings were in line with analyst forecasts. Final dividend rose 49 cents a share, up from 43 cents a year earlier.

Woodside is gaining from a rally in oil prices. Oil has held above $50/bbl since OPEC and 11 other nations started trimming supply to ease a global glut. The export group implemented about 90% of pledged cuts last month and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicts the market will shift into deficit in the first half, although U.S. crude stockpiles have increased to the highest level in more than three decades.

Citigroup raised its forecast for Brent crude on Tuesday by $US5 a barrel to an average of $55 a barrel for this quarter.

This chart shows Woodside’s production volumes

Woodside said output rose 3% to 94.9 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBOE), with production of liquefied natural gas running at 63.7 MMBOE, up 9% on 2014’s previous record. For 2017, liquefied natural gas output is expected to rise to an estimated 63-66 MMBOE

In the year ahead, production will benefit from the start-up of the giant Wheatstone export gas project, with other plans such as accessing a greater portion of the output from Pluto to help underwrite a 15% lift to output over the next three years.

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