Woodside reports $852m interim profit

Australia’s largest independent oil and gas producer, Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) has today reported a US$852 million underlying profit for the six months to June 2013.

The result is slightly down over the previous corresponding period, due to unplanned shutdown of the processing train affecting Pluto LNG production, and refurbishment of the Vincent floating production storage and offloading vessel taking longer than expected.

For the first half, Woodside produced 41.9 million barrels of oil equivalent, up 22.5% over the previous year, resulting in operating revenues rising 7.6% to US$2,857 million. The company also announced that the interim dividend would increase 28% to US$83 cents per share, while total debt dropped by 26%, thanks to strong operating cash flows of US$1.5 billion.

Woodside is predicting production of 85 to 89 million barrels of oil equivalent for the 2013 financial year, slightly lower than its previous guidance.

A number of LNG plants will come into production in Australia and PNG over the next couple of years, operated by the likes of Chevron, BG Group, Santos Limited (ASX:STO)Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) and Oil Search Limited (ASX:OSH), as the demand for LNG rises.

Foolish takeaway

Currently operating six of the seven LNG processing trains in Australia, and with a host of world class assets, Woodside looks well placed to continue delivering nice profits and dividends to shareholders.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in Woodside and Santos.

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