UPDATE 2.30pm: Woodside Petroleum insists it favours WA over the Northern Territory for a proposed supply base to service its Browse Basin gas project.
The location of the base, together with WA's gas reservation policy, are key issues as the Woodside-led consortium seeks the renewal of State and federal retention leases over the Browse gas fields ahead of their expiry at year's end.
WA Premier Colin Barnett has consistently reiterated that the State will not sign over two of the seven relevant retention leases unless the consortium delivers WA a supply base and a domestic gas solution.
Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman said today the consortium had engaged in "quite positive …. and open and frank" discussions with the Government ahead of the lodgement of its submissions on lease retention in the next few months.
"The Premier has expressed a clear desire for a supply base to be in WA, we would support that," Mr Coleman said after Woodside's annual meeting in Perth.
"Our first preference is too look for appropriate sites in WA both for supply vessels and for helicopter operations.
"The NT is competitive to that, but it's not our first preference."
Mr Coleman suggested tensions between Woodside had the Government over last year's termination of an onshore processing development option for Browse at James Price Point in the Kimberley in favour of floating LNG technology had been "overplayed".
"We have always had good relations with the Premier," he said. "Clearly, we had some professional differences and the Premier was disappointed we weren't able to progress James Price Point.
"We shared his disappointment, we just had more time to get used to it. We could see it coming."
Woodside shares closed up nine cents at $40.80.