Australia Markets closed

Energy crisis, merger fuels higher Woodside profit

Woodside has tripled its full-year profit and increased its return to shareholders on the back of soaring energy demand and the acquisition of BHP's oil assets.

The Perth-based oil and gas giant on Monday announced underlying net profit of $US5.2 billion ($A7.7 billion) in the 2022 calendar year, up 223 per cent from the previous year.

Shareholders will receive a final dividend of $US1.44 ($A2.14) per share.

Woodside CEO Meg O'Neill said the company had delivered exceptional results and executed a successful merger with BHP's petroleum business which drove increased production and sales.

The global energy crisis fuelled higher commodity prices, with the company's realised price rising 63 per cent to $US98 ($A146) per barrel of oil equivalent.

"Woodside is now a larger, geographically diverse energy company with the financial and operational strength to grow our portfolio of high-quality assets while continuing to deliver returns to shareholders," Ms O'Neill said.

"In what was a momentous year for Woodside we achieved the goals we set ourselves ahead of the merger, implementing initiatives to deliver the targeted $400 million in synergies ahead of our original schedule."

Ms O'Neill said the enormous Scarborough LNG project - which is the subject of two court challenges launched by environmental groups - was 25 per cent complete, on budget and targeting first production in 2026.

The company has separate environmental plans before the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority relating to drilling activities, seismic surveying and pipeline installation.

"It's a much broader consultation than we historically would have performed but we are getting after it," Ms O'Neill told analysts during a teleconference.

"We've got the flexibility in the schedule to accommodate this longer consultation period and we remain on track for first LNG in 2026."

Woodside has been targeted by climate activists concerned by the environmental impact of mega-projects such as Scarborough.

The Woodside logo has been spray-painted on the front doors of the West Australian parliament and separately onto Frederick McCubbin's painting Down On His Luck at the Art Gallery of WA.

Ms O'Neill said Woodside was on track to meet its target of reducing net equity scope one and two emissions by 15 per cent by 2025.

The company is aiming to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 but has a number of growth projects in the pipeline, with a final investment decision expected this year on its Trion deepwater oil project off the coast of Mexico.

Activist group Market Forces said Woodside was promoting a strategy that "undermined climate action by paying big executive bonuses for increasing oil and gas production".

The Conservation Council of WA's Maggie Wood said Woodside was not taking its commitments seriously.

"It is impossible to deliver credible action on emissions reduction if your entire business model is reliant on fossil fuels," she said.

Woodside reported $A2.7 billion in Australian tax and royalty payments for the calendar year.

Its shares were trading 0.3 per cent higher at $34.72 at 12.45pm AEDT.