Friday, February 24, 2012

Coleman keeps his cards close

Coleman keeps his cards close: And Browse, well, it is a story complicated by the vastly different aspirations of its stakeholders. Woodside’s partners in the project don’t like the operator’s preferred development option. Their preference, generally, would be to use the Browse gas to backfill the NWS project.

But governments state and federal seem as wedded to the idea of a new LNG hub in the Kimberley almost as much as was good old Voelte.

And in the middle of all that sit the environmentalists who don’t like it and the Aboriginal communities who seem to like it and hate it in unequal measure.

Coleman was pushed hard on why he would sell down now when so much of Browse remains so doubtful. He clearly knows why, he just isn’t telling. Essentially then, we remain in the dark on whether the sale should be a received as an indicator of support for the James Price Point option.

What we do know is that the final investment decision on Browse has been delayed until first-quarter 2013 and that, as result, Woodside has applied for state and commonwealth indulgence on an extension of the project’s retention lease.

One result of the “health check’’ that Coleman admits to is that Woodside now has 20 souls beavering away on corporate planning and strategy. This was not previously a “core strength’’, Coleman said yesterday.

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