Woodside rethinks Sunrise developments

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Woodside Petroleum has reopened negotiations with East Timor over the Greater Sunrise gas field development, and has agreed to reconsider onshore processing.

Negotiations for the developments stalled under former CEO Don Voelte after the company and its joint-venture partners opted for a floating facility.

The East Timor government is pushing for onshore processing to create jobs in the impoverished nation.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported today that new Woodside CEO Peter Coleman told the East Timor government an onshore facility was not off the table.

The East Timor Government said following new negotiations Coleman had expressed a desire to rethink the deal.

“Mr Coleman expressed his willingness to reassess the position with joint-venture partners,” it said.

Coleman’s change of position on the developments comes less than two months after he indicated the company would not consider deviating from a floating facility.

“It’s too early for us to move away, or even have discussions around a different concept for sunrise,” he said on August 17.

“We really do believe we have the right development concept.”

While Coleman’s negotiations have brought the two parties closer together, both say a final agreement is still a long way off.

East Timor has indicated there are still significant differences between the parties, and Woodside is still pushing for a floating platform development.

Coleman, who was appointed to the CEO position in May, is currently driving a reshuffle of Woodside’s management.

Last week the company’s head of international oil and gas Jeff Soine joined former northwest shelf head Kevin Gallagher in resigning.

Along with the Browse gas fields off WA’s Kimberley coast, development of the Sunrise field is one of the Woodside’s primary goals.

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