Woodside on track to lift oil production

Woodside Petroleum has lifted its full year net profit by 98 per cent and says it is on track to lift oil production this year.

Woodside's net profit rose to $US2.98 billion ($A2.89 billion) for the 2012 calendar year, from $US1.5 billion ($A1.46 billion).

The 2011 result had been dragged down by cost of delays to its $US14.9 billion Pluto liquefied natural gas (LNG) project off the northwest coast of Western Australia.

Sales revenue rose 29.6 per cent to $US6.2 billion in 2012 ($A6.12 billion), from $US4.8 billion ($A4.66 billion).

Woodside also lifted its fully-franked final dividend by 10 US cents, to 65 US cents.

"Woodside's production target for 2013 remains unchanged at a range of 88 to 94 MMboe (million barrels of oil equivalent), comprising 47 per cent from NWS Gas facilities, 41 per cent from Pluto LNG and 12 per cent from other assets," Woodside said in a statement on Wednesday.

Production in 2012 was 84.9 mmboe, up 31 per cent from 64.6 mmboe in 2011.

Woodside's chief executive Peter Coleman said the 2012 result was underpinned by a 31 per cent increase in production and 30 per cent lift in sales revenue.

The start-up of the Pluto liquefied natural gas (LNG) project last April and higher contributions from the Vincent and North West Shelf oil facilities also helped improve earnings.

"The safe start-up of Pluto marks 2012 as a milestone year for Woodside and cements our position as Australia's leading LNG operator," Mr Coleman said.

Mr Coleman said Pluto LNG performed at better-than-expected rates due to high reliability in the production ramp-up phase.

Between its start-up last April and the end of calendar 2012, Pluto LNG produced 2.7 million tonnes of LNG and 2.1 million barrels of condensate.

Woodside's investment expenditure fell 53 per cent in 2012 to $US1.8 billion ($A1.75 billion), largely driven by lower expenditure at Pluto.

The group lifted its investment expenditure forecast for 2013 to $US2.6 billion ($A2.52 billion) in 2013 due to anticipated additional costs associated with the Leviathan and Myanmar projects.

The expected investment expenditure amount is made up of $US2.1 billion ($A2.04 billion) capital plus $US500 million ($A485.34 million) of exploration expenditure.

"This estimate does not yet include forecast project expenditure that would result from a final investment decision for the proposed Browse LNG development," Woodside said.

Elsewhere, Woodside said it paid $US17 million ($A16.50 million) towards the federal government's carbon tax.

Woodside's shares were 23.5 cents higher at $38.145 at 1037 AEDT.

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