Woodside Energy reports record first-half profit

Company News

by Glenn Dyer

Woodside Energy (ASX:WOO), driven by a surge in oil and gas production following its merger with BHP's petroleum business last year, has posted a remarkable 6% rise in first-half profit, reaching a record high.

The company's net income for the half-year ending June 30 climbed to $1.74 billion USD ($2.71 billion AUD), marking a substantial increase from $1.64 billion USD in the corresponding period of 2022. This impressive performance was complemented by a significant 217% leap in revenue, which reached $7.4 billion USD.

Directors of Woodside declared an interim dividend of 80 US cents per share (cps), equivalent to around 80% of underlying net profit after tax, signaling the company's commitment to enhancing shareholder returns.

Woodside CEO Meg O’Neill commented on the strong financial results, emphasizing disciplined capital management that allowed the maintenance of the interim dividend payout ratio throughout the cycle. She noted, "Woodside’s gearing remained low at 8.2% at the end of the first half. Our active management of the debt portfolio positions Woodside’s balance sheet well as we invest in future production."

The first half of the year saw a record production of 91.3 million barrels of oil equivalent, with the Pluto LNG facility achieving an impressive reliability rate of 99.9% in the five months leading up to the scheduled maintenance turnaround, which was executed on time.

O’Neill also highlighted the achievement of first production at the Argos platform of Mad Dog Phase 2 in the Gulf of Mexico. The company anticipates a ramp-up in output from the facility over the remainder of the year.

In addition, Woodside reported a successful appraisal well in the southwest portion of the Mad Dog field and is evaluating a multi-well tieback to Argos.

The company's endeavors extended globally, as it made a final investment decision (FID) on the Trion oil development offshore Mexico. Woodside also progressed on projects like Julimar-Brunello Phase 3, the Scarborough and Pluto Train 2 project, and new energy initiatives such as hydrogen projects and the Woodside Solar project in Australia.

Furthermore, Woodside demonstrated its dedication to securing Australia's domestic gas markets by executing several agreements for the total supply of around 120 petajoules of pipeline gas to retailers and industrial users.

O'Neill concluded by expressing optimism, "With two revenue generating operations being supplemented in the near future by Olaroz Stage 2 and a strong balance sheet, we are fully funded to complete construction at Sal de Vida and the development of James Bay."

Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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