AN INCREASE in oil volumes coupled with higher realised prices for Pluto LNG throughout the March quarter has helped Woodside Petroleum post a sizeable $US1.68 billion in sales revenue, up 15.9 per cent on the previous quarter.

The revenue also marked a 1.6% increase on the $1.65 billion sales revenue achieved in the December quarter of 2013.

The Perth-headquartered company managed to record an average Brent price for the quarter of $107.87 a barrel, however this was slightly below the $112.64/bbl achieved in the corresponding period.

Production volumes compared to the corresponding quarter were 5% higher at 23 million barrels of oil equivalent, while sales volumes were 6.9% higher, which Woodside said was predominantly due to the re-start of the Vincent FPSO in late 2013.

Compared to the previous quarter, production volumes slipped 0.9% mainly due to lower LNG volumes produced at Pluto, which was partially offset by increased oil volumes following a full quarter of Vincent production.

Woodside said sales volumes were also 0.9% higher than the previous quarter, reflecting a draw-down of inventory volumes on hand at the end of the previous quarter.

Company highlights recorded for the first three months of 2014 included the signing of two new sales and purchase agreements with Korea Gas and Chubu Electric for volumes primarily sourced from Pluto LNG. Woodside also achieved a milestone at Pluto during the quarter with the loading of its 100th LNG cargo since the start of LNG production in April 2012.

Offshore, Woodside was awarded four new exploration blocks in Myanmar.

Woodside said its new acreage, located in the Rakhine basin off the west coast of Myanmar, supported its efforts to “grow the scale and long-term value of our Myanmar and global exploration business.”

On the development front, the company continued basis of design (BOD) activities for a floating LNG development concept at the Browse project.

The BOD phase involves studies and work required by the Browse joint venture participants to be in a position to consider entering front-end engineering and design (FEED) in the second-half of 2014.

In January, the Federal Department of Environment informed Woodside that the proposed Browse FLNG development would be assessed by an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Woodside anticipates the draft EIS will be available for public review and comment in the latter half of the year.

Woodside said discussions with parties and the government to resolve the remaining issues with the large Leviathan gas field off Israel were continuing. It follows the passing of a 27 March deadline to complete the deal.

In Canada, Woodside inked a three-year agreement with the Government of British Columbia to access land at Grassy Point which will enable it to undertake feasibility studies for a potential LNG development.

“Work has commenced on technical, economic and consultation activities required to meet our obligations under the agreement and to assess the feasibility of the opportunity in British Columbia,” Woodside said.