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Woodside, industry work on plan to avert Australian oil field clean-up tax

  • The government stunned the industry in May when it announced it would impose a levy from July 1 on all offshore oil and gas producers to cover the cost
Published August 27, 2021
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MELBOURNE: Woodside Petroleum said on Friday it is working with other companies on a plan to replace a proposed Australian government levy on offshore producers to pay for cleaning up an abandoned oil field in the Timor Sea.

The government stunned the industry in May when it announced it would impose a levy from July 1 on all offshore oil and gas producers to cover the cost - estimated as high as A$1 billion ($723 million) - of removing facilities and cleaning up the area around the abandoned Laminaria-Corallina fields.

Global majors, led by Chevron Corp, Exxon Mobil Corp , and Royal Dutch Shell, voiced strong opposition to having to pay for rehabilitating a site they never had anything to do with and have lobbied the government to not proceed with a levy.

"Woodside is working with industry partners to present to government an alternative proposal for the decommissioning of the Northern Endeavour," a Woodside spokesperson told Reuters on Friday, in the company's first public comment on the plan.

The Northern Endeavour is the giant floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel at the Laminaria-Corallina oil fields in the Timor Sea which was abandoned when the fields' owner, Northern Oil & Gas Australia (NOGA), collapsed in 2019.

Woodside, which also opposed the levy, came under pressure to take some responsibility for the decommissioning as NOGA bought a stake in the field from Woodside.

Woodside did not comment on whether the alternative plan would involve it handling the decommissioning of the Northern Endeavour, financed by an industry fund.

Chevron, Exxon and Shell had no immediate comment. Santos Ltd declined to comment.

The Department of Industry, which had been working on the levy proposal, deferred comment to the Treasury Department.

Treasury had no immediate comment.

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Woodside, industry work on plan to avert Australian oil field clean-up tax

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