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Woodside May Get Gas From Exxon, BHP, Macquarie Says

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Woodside Petroleum Ltd. may get gas supplies from a field operated by Exxon Mobil Corp. to underpin an expansion of its $14 billion Pluto liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia, Macquarie Group Ltd. said.

Australia’s second-largest oil and gas producer may take gas from the Scarborough field off northwest Australia, Adrian Wood, a Sydney-based analyst at Macquarie, said by phone today.

“The tone coming out of Woodside is that they are closing in on a deal, and I can’t think of someone else who is more suited to do that” than Exxon and BHP Billiton Ltd., partners in the Scarborough gas venture located about 300 kilometers (185 miles) off the coast of Western Australia, he said.

Woodside, among energy companies in Australia developing LNG projects to meet rising Asian demand for the fuel, is due to begin exports from Pluto later this year. The company has said that a decision on an expansion depends on finding enough gas resources, either through exploration or from other suppliers. The project will start later and cost more than previously projected, the company said in November.

“There’s more than enough gas there for one or maybe two trains, but obviously Exxon and BHP aren’t going to give that gas away,” Macquarie’s Wood said. “They’re going to want an equity stake in the project or financial recompense.”

Laura Hammer, a spokeswoman for Perth-based Woodside, declined in an e-mail to comment. Amanda Buckley, a spokeswoman at BHP in Melbourne, said the company and Exxon are reviewing development options and declined to comment further. An Exxon spokeswoman in Melbourne didn’t return a voicemail left at her office during business hours.

Woodside rose 0.5 percent to A$43.31 at 3:06 p.m. in Sydney, while the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.7 percent.

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