Australia’s Woodside Petroleum has reported a 24.9 per cent drop in annual underlying profit and lowered its final dividend, hit by lower oil and gas prices and reduced output due to maintenance downtime at its Pluto operations.

Underlying profit, which excludes one-time charges, was $US1.06 billion, compared with $US1.42 billion a year ago.

Woodside took a $US720 million writedown on its undeveloped Kitimat LNG assets in western Canada, as it was unable to compete with others worldwide in a weak LNG market.

Its partner Chevron Corp earlier took a $US1.6 billion writedown on the project, which has been shelved.

Taking into account the Kitimat asset writedown, net profit after tax fell nearly 75 per cent to $US343 million from the $US1.36 billion last year.

The oil and gas explorer cut its final dividend to 55 cents per share, from 91 cents it paid a year earlier.

Meanwhile, Woodside said partners in the $US20.5 billion Browse project were ready to begin preliminary engineering work but added that progress was still subject to the completion of negotiations regarding gas processing agreements.

A tolling agreement for processing gas from the Browse field at the North West Shelf LNG project’s Karratha Gas Plant is still pending, as Woodside struggles with multiple partners in the two projects to agree on the price for gas processing.

The company said it was now targeting a final investment decision on the Browse project in “late 2021”, past the previously expected time frame of first half of 2021.