Pluto sets sights on growth

​​​​​​​​​​Five years since start-up and on the back of record reliability in 2016, the Pluto LNG asset is well positioned to pursue growth. 

Lead business adviser Lindsey Hershman says the Pluto joint venture is examining how best to extract maximum value from the asset. Pluto was announced earlier this year as one of the company’s corporate priorities. Phase 1 of Pluto was asset start-up and achieving operational excellence. 

In 2017 we entered phase 2, maximising production and profitability. Lindsey explains the strategy in this phase is to maximise the value of the existing foundation business by achieving sustained high reliability leading to further production and sales. “In addition during this phase it is important to evaluate and decide on new investment options to grow our revenue source and increase our initial return on investment,” he says.

Andrew Yeates, senior commercial adviser, says the recent final investment decision (FID) in November for the LNG truck loading facility is a perfect example of how innovation and collaboration – both internally, with our partners and externally with industry – will result in the acceleration of Pluto’s growth. “This facility has the ability to open new markets by developing LNG as a fuel for transport and remote power generation,” Andrew points out. 

The growth strategy continues to evolve with the support of our Pluto joint venture participants Tokyo Gas and Kansai Electric. Lindsey lists the 2017 activities that have helped to position Pluto for growth, including the: 

• examination of small/medium-sized trains as cost-effective expansion capacity; 

• successful cold high-rate trial conducted in the first half of this year which helped raise production to record levels; 

• ongoing evaluation of an interconnection pipeline between Pluto and the Karratha Gas Plant; and 

• establishment of Pluto domgas targeting delivery into the WA market from the second half of 2018. 

In line with Woodside’s strategy of maximising value from existing infrastructure, planning continues for expansion of Pluto LNG, based on the acceleration of Pluto gas and the potential development of regional unallocated gas resources. “There is a wide range of options we are studying and developing, both for gas supply and potential capacity expansion,” adds Simon McCarthy, business development manager Pluto.

“The work we’re doing this year will help us determine how best to unlock value going forward.” Tracy Jones, Pluto business manager, agrees exciting times lie ahead for Pluto. “Since its start up in April 2012, Pluto has delivered more than 350 cargoes to the Asia-Pacific, helping cement Woodside’s position as a major supplier of LNG in the region,” Tracy says. “We’re still keeping a close eye on small-scale Pluto operations to achieve world-class reliability and production. “But we’re looking at building from this strong platform unlocking both industrial customers in the Pilbara and unallocated resources in the Carnarvon basin.” She concludes: “It’s truly an exciting time for those of us closely involved in Pluto LNG as we seek to power Woodside’s growth.”

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Trunkline Q4 2017​​​​