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Woodside Petroleum Sales Decline 7% After Oil Project Delay

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL), Australia’s second-largest oil and gas producer, posted a 7 percent decline in fourth-quarter sales after a delay in restarting its Vincent oil project off the west coast.

Sales dropped to $1.65 billion from $1.77 billion a year earlier, Perth-based Woodside said today in a statement. That exceeded the median estimate of $1.58 billion from three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Production dropped 5 percent to 23.2 million barrels of oil equivalent, close to the median estimate of 23 million barrels.

Woodside cut its 2013 production target in July after an unplanned shutdown at its A$15 billion ($13.4 billion) Pluto liquefied natural gas plant in Western Australia and delays to the refurbishment of the Vincent floating production storage and offloading vessel. Woodside is expanding overseas after delays to its Browse and Sunrise LNG ventures in Australia.

Woodside had output of 87 million barrels for the full year. It last month narrowed its range for expected 2013 production to 86 million to 88 million barrels.

The company said on July 18 that Pluto had resumed. Vincent restarted production on November 29, Woodside said.

Woodside expects to decide in the first half of 2014 whether to complete a deal to buy a stake in Israel’s Leviathan gas venture with Noble Energy Inc., the Australian company said in December. Noble believes the value of the Leviathan gas resource has increased, potentially driving the initial price Woodside will need to pay to $1.5 billion from $696 million, according to a Macquarie Group Ltd. report in December.

The company expects production of 86 million to 93 million barrels of oil equivalent this year, Woodside said in December. That was lower than the 93.3 million barrel median estimate of five analysts surveyed earlier in December by Bloomberg News.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Paton in Sydney at jpaton4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jason Rogers at jrogers73@bloomberg.net

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