WOODSIDE CEO Peter Coleman has described the company’s operational performance during the first half of 2020 as “nothing short of outstanding.”

Despite some of the biggest challenges in the company’s history, Woodside achieved record production levels of 50.1 MMboe in the half, helping the company deliver an underlying net profit after tax of $303 million.

“The record production achieved in the half is a credit to our people’s ongoing commitment to sustained operational excellence,” Mr Coleman said.

The Woodside CEO said the company and its people had proved their resilience and adaptability over the course of the first half.

“I would rate the external conditions created this year by the COVID-19 pandemic and oversupply in global oil and gas markets as the most difficult I’ve seen in nearly four decades in the industry.

“Woodside began 2020 in a strong financial position, built over the previous two years as we prepared for a period of increased capital spending. This position has been consolidated through the first half thanks to the strong performance of our high-reliability, low-cost operations.

“Our balance sheet strength and disciplined approach to capital management ensures we can deliver appropriate returns to shareholders. It also allows us to progress our existing strategic growth plans, and provides optionality to pursue the right external opportunities, should they arise.

“Woodside’s operational performance during the first half was nothing short of outstanding. In February, we successfully weathered Tropical Cyclone Damien – the most severe storm ever to pass over our Western Australian facilities – with very limited impact on production.

“In the immediate wake of Damien, we faced the emerging challenge of COVID-19, requiring us to take swift and decisive action to protect our workforce, communities and operations, and ensure safe and secure gas supplies to customers in Western Australia and overseas.

“The record production achieved in the half is a credit to our people’s ongoing commitment to sustained operational excellence, helping Woodside deliver underlying net profit after tax of $303 million, despite the challenging market conditions.

“Oil and gas prices were negatively impacted by the confluence of geopolitical dynamics, global economic uncertainty and energy demand destruction brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Oil price fell as much as 80% from the start of the year and LNG spot prices have seen historic lows.

“In response to the pandemic and lower oil and gas prices we have taken the difficult decisions needed to guarantee the financial integrity of Woodside’s business: cutting planned total expenditure in 2020 by 50% and delaying final investment decisions (FIDs) on our Scarborough, Pluto Train 2 and Browse developments.”

“Woodside remains committed to developing the Scarborough and Browse gas resources through our proposed Burrup Hub and has continued work on commercial agreements and regulatory approvals to ensure we are ready to take FIDs when investment conditions improve.

“Milestones were reached for our near-term growth projects during the half. We achieved FID and began execution of Sangomar Field Development Phase 1 in Senegal and the North West Shelf’s Greater Western Flank Phase 3, as well as continuing work on Pyxis Hub and Julimar-Brunello Phase 2 offshore Western Australia,” he said.

Despite unprecedented disruptions to Woodside’s operations and markets in Australia and around the world in 2020, Mr Coleman said the company remains on track to meet its guidance for increased output in 2020.

While the company was able to overcome most issues in the first half it also reported net loss after tax of US$4,067 million, principally due to the impairment losses and onerous contract provision.