Woodside to Cut More Than 300 Jobs

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Wednesday, February 18th, 2015
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Woodside Petroleum plans to cut more than 300 jobs this year as it slashes costs following a sharp fall in the oil price.

The Perth-based company has also shelved plans to develop the Sunrise gas field off East Timor because of regulatory and fiscal uncertainty.

Woodside is cutting its 2015 operating expenditure by around 15 per cent and investment expenditure by around 20 per cent after the oil price halved over the past six months.

The news came as Woodside lifted its 2014 calendar year profit by 38 per cent to $US2.4 billion and re-affirmed its production targets for 2015.

Chief executive Peter Coleman said Woodside had cut 320 jobs during 2014 and it was looking to shed about the same this year to drive down costs.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re able to achieve similar sort of results through 2015 as we have through 2014,” Mr Coleman told reporters.

“We’re looking for a similar outcome by the time we finish 2015.”

Mr Coleman also said Woodside was unable to continue further with plans for the stalled Sunrise project after working on a development concept with the East Timorese government over the past 18 months.

“We’re at a point where we’ve pretty well exhausted the activities that we can progress at this time,” he said.

“We’re looking at Sunrise saying it’s really very difficult to spend any material amount of time or money on Sunrise in the short term until we actually see certainty around the regulatory and fiscal framework.”

In order to take the next step, Woodside needed to know “who it was paying its rent to”.

“We can’t put it up to buyers as being a viable project,” Mr Coleman said.

East Timor’s prime minister Xanana Gusmao recently announced he is preparing to depart the political stage, with high profile member of the opposition Fretilin Party, Rui Araujo, likely to replace him as part of a new power-sharing arrangement.

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