The Pluto LNG Project. Image courtesy of

Australia-based Woodside Petroleum temporarily shut in production at the Pluto LNG Project in Western Australia Monday after a cyclone tore a drilling rig from its moorings.

The Atwood Osprey rig was drilling at Chevron’s nearby Wheatsone LNG project and had been shut down and secured in preparation for tropical cyclone Olwyn.

The cyclone tore the rig from its moorings sending it three nautical miles towards the Pluto field, dangerously close to the field’s flowlines, the Sydney Morning Herald said.

The rig, owned by Houston-based Atwood Oceanics, suffered minimal damage but will be unable to work for up to 30 days.

An underwater inspection confirmed that flowlines at the $11 billion Pluto project were not damaged.

No injuries or environmental damage were reported.

“Production will be restarted when the rig has been relocated away from Pluto infrastructure,” Woodside said.

The Pluto field, located in the Carnarvon Basin off the coast of Western Australia, is projected to account for 38 percent of Woodside’s 2015 production.



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