Woodside Petroleum chief executive Peter Coleman has called for an end to the "hollow discussion" about whether the State is missing out on a jobs-and-revenue bonanza because of the axed James Price Point processing hub, describing it as a redundant conversation based on a land-based LNG dream that was not viable.
And he challenged critics of Woodside's plan to develop Browse Basin gas fields through floating LNG technology, such as Premier Colin Barnett, to accept that significant long-term job creation was more important than a short-term, construction boom.
"It's not an either or situation," Mr Coleman said yesterday. "It's not a situation of choosing James Price Point versus floating.
"We spent almost $2 billion to get James Price Point to work. I don't know how people can expect companies to spend any more money than that trying to make a development commercially viable.
"James Price Point simply didn't work. Period. So talking about local content in the context of a project that won't get built is kind of a hollow discussion."
Mr Coleman was talking after handing down Woodside's $US873 million ($966.1 million) interim net profit, up 7.5 per cent on the six months to June 30, 2012. Woodside declared an US83Â¢ interim dividend. Woodside shares fell 60Â¢ to $38.10.
The result was below analysts' expectation though most of the focus was on Mr Coleman's update on the Browse project.
Mr Coleman said front-end engineering and design work on the massive undertaking could start in the middle of next year for a final investment decision on a phased FLNG operation by mid-2015. Mr Coleman did not discuss a first-gas target for Browse though the FEED and FID schedule suggests maiden LNG cargoes could sail by 2019.
He also remained coy on the likely scale of the Browse FLNG concept other than confirming for the first time that Woodside was using a three-floater FLNG development as a reference case for a project covering three gas and condensate fields - Calliance, Brecknock and Torosa.
Mr Coleman reiterated that the operational employment opportunities from the FLNG concept, including during support and maintenance periods, would likely be greater than for an equivalent land-based gas processing plant, and he urged WA's manufacturing and fabrication sector to offer its services.
"Our view is to maximise the use of local industry, and we want local industry to develop themselves so they are competitive, not just in WA but internationally," Mr Coleman said.
- WORLD OF WOODSIDE *
·Israel - waiting on regulators before finalising farm-in into 19tcf Leviathan LNG project
·Burma - acquired 3D seismic over offshore acreage, more seismic planned
·Ireland - waiting on environmental nod for seismic work in Porcupine Basin
·Korea - assessing unsuccessful offshore exploration well
·Spain - aiming to drill off Canary Islands next year
·Brazil - assessing results
·Canada - continuing search for suitable LNG plant site location in British Columbia
Source: Woodside Petroleum