REFILE-Woodside profit dips despite record H1 production
(Adds "underlying" in paragraphs 1 and 3)
PERTH Aug 21 (Reuters) - Woodside Petroleum, Australia's biggest oil and gas company, reported a 1.5 percent fall in half-year underlying net profit as lower prices and increased costs more than offset record first-half production.
Woodside maintained its production target for 2013 of 85 to 89 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe), after cutting its output target from an earlier 88 to 94 MMboe in July.
Underlying net profit, excluding non-recurring items, fell to $852 million from $865 million a year ago.
Woodside shares slipped 1.6 percent to A$38.09 after the results announcement in a flat overall market. The stock has risen around 8 percent over the past year.
Woodside said a 7.6 percent rise in operating revenue to $2.86 billion, a record for the first half, was largely due to a full half-year of production from its Pluto LNG plant despite an unplanned outage at the facility.
The company said it expects Asia Pacific to remain its core regional market, with the outlook for sustained growth in the region underpinned by Japan's ongoing need for more LNG supplies following 2011's earthquake and tsunami.
Woodside formally recommended a floating LNG plant to develop its Browse gas fields off the coast of northwestern Australia on Tuesday. The company scrapped a $45 billion plan to build a 12 million tonne per year onshore plant in April, saying it was too costly.
Woodside said it continued to work over the first half to convert its in-principle agreement to buy 30 percent of Israel's Leviathan gas prospect for $1.25 billion to a full termed agreement.
Potential plans by Israel's government to limit exports or route exports of gas through Turkey could make the Leviathan deal less attractive.
Woodside said the government maintained its domestic gas reservation for Leviathan at 50 percent, despite an aggregate increase in reservation volumes for all fields to 60 percent. (Reporting by Rebekah Kebede and Jane Wardell; Editing by Richard Pullin)