Woodside ends mining investment boom

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The AFR is reporting this morning that:

Woodside Petroleum is expected to announce it is shelving its $45 billion Browse liquefied natural gas project at James Price Point in Western Australia, after deciding the huge venture cannot be profitably developed as proposed.

Woodside is understood to have told the federal and WA governments in the past 24 hours that the Browse partners have decided not to proceed with the original plan for a new 12 million tonnes a year LNG plant at the controversial site on the Kimberley coast.

Contractors doing preliminary work at the site have been stood down and told that no further progress payments will be made, according to sources.

The venture is expected to examine alternative, potentially more economic plans to develop their valuable 15.5 trillion cubic feet of gas resources in the Browse Basin.

The partners are considering developing the gas using floating LNG technology, an option vehemently opposed by WA Premier Colin Barnett, who fears the loss of jobs and economic benefits. A Woodside spokeswoman declined to comment, but the company could release a formal statement as early as Friday. Chairman Michael Chaney also declined to comment.

Well, that’s the end of the LNG and mining investment booms right there. Mining investment is locked in to head south from around now. If the project resumes as floating LNG then that will be a useful tail on the boom for federal revenues via the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax but the investment and jobs created during the development phase will all go to Korea in building the enormous ship. 

Houses and Holes

David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the fouding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal.

He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.

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Comments

  1. If Woodside had been sucking the gas out of a New Zealand field, @ US$.60 it would have been viable; @.70 uncomfortable on the bottom line; @ .80 we would be right here today, shutting up shop. And where is the Kiwi today .8650…and there’s stupid talk of slashing the OCR from 2.5% to lower the dollar. Do that and I’ll tell you where the NZ$ will go to, 1.00… for all the obvious reasons…gas sucking not being on of them.

    • GunnamattaMEMBER

      Sure is

      Anyone know the next real data set which indicates precisely when the peak of mining investment is/was here?

      That downside is looking a doozy, and it would appear to me as though it will become apparent during an election campaign