Woodside’s Partners Back Plan for Browse Gas Project With Shell

Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Australia’s second-largest oil producer, said its partners in the Browse project support a plan to use Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s floating liquefied natural gas technology.

Woodside expects to consider starting engineering and design work on the LNG venture in 2014, the Perth-based company said today in a statement. PetroChina Co., BP Plc, Shell, Mitsui & Co. and Mitsubishi Corp. are partners.

The offshore option will cost an estimated $46 billion over the life of the Browse project, compared with about $70 billion for an onshore development on the coast of Western Australia, Mark Greenwood, a Sydney-based analyst at Citigroup Inc., said today by phone.

Woodside in April scrapped a plan to send gas from three fields off the Western Australia coast to an onshore processing plant because it was too expensive. The company expects that processing the gas on a giant ship will be 35 percent to 50 percent cheaper and plans to decide in mid-2015 whether to go ahead with the project, Woodside said last month.

The Hague-based Shell is also developing the Prelude floating LNG project off Australia, which is due to start in about 2017.

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