Woodside in accounting-driven $800m profit plunge

Accounting changes and write-offs have claimed the results of a second Australian oil and gas major in as many days with Woodside Petroleum reporting a net loss of $92 million for the year just ended, down by nearly $800 million on 2001.
Woodside in accounting-driven $800m profit plunge Woodside in accounting-driven $800m profit plunge Woodside in accounting-driven $800m profit plunge Woodside in accounting-driven $800m profit plunge Woodside in accounting-driven $800m profit plunge

A one-off reduction of $715 million for adoption of US accounting standards for exploration expenses and a $106 million write-off for the company's Oil Search investment wiped away all of the underlying profit of $729 million plus more.

This figure was also down 10.8% on the 2001 figure of $815 million due to lower revenue and the impact of Petroleum Resource Rent Tax that the company incurred in the first half of 2001.

Production was down 3.2% at 64.2 million barrels of equivalent (mmboe) compared to the record of 66.3 mmboe in 2001. Woodside said the decline in production from the depleting Laminaria oil field was offset by increases in production from Woodside's other operating assets.

Lower oil production resulted in a 6.6% decrease in 2002 revenue to $2.24 billion. However, net operating cash flows for Woodside were up by 9% to $1.2 billion due largely to uplift of cargoes in late 2001 with payment coming in 2002.

Another positive for the Perth-based company was proved and probable hydrocarbon reserves increasing by 53.2 mmboe to 997.1 mmboe and by 89.8 mmboe to 1304.1 mmboe respectively. It's the seventh consecutive year that hydrocarbon reserves have increased.

Despite the big profit plunge, the result was in line with market and analyst's expectations. Woodside's shares fell 34c to be currently trading at $11.26. The company said a final dividend of 41c per share will be paid, resulting in a total dividend of 2002 of 62c per share, fully franked.

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