Woodside Petroleum has confirmed in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange that it is considering the sale of some of its equity in the Browse LNG development. The statement follows an announcement in December that it was seeking to delay its final investment decision, required by mid-2012 under the terms of the Browse Basin retention lease, until into the first half of 2013.


While stating that it had “not made any decision to reduce its equity in the proposed development at this time”, the company conceded that it had received “significant interest from a number of parties”,  providing “an opportunity to assess early value realization”.


News media have been speculating a reduction of Woodside's holding in the project could spell the end for the controversial processing plant on the Kimberle coast.


However, in the statement, Woodside reiterated that it intends to retain operatorship of the development, consistent with CEO Peter Coleman’s comments from the 2011 half-year report, when he stated: 


“Our tier-one LNG growth options include Pluto expansion, Browse and Sunrise. We have large equity stakes in these projects and this means we have additional options. Through a disciplined approach and robust processes we will deliver value from the LNG growth options over both the medium to longer term.