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BHP Approves Pyrenees Project Offshore Western Australia

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Exmouth Sub-basin
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BHP Billiton has approved the Pyrenees project located in license block number WA-12-R in the Exmouth Sub-basin, off the North West Australian coast. First production is expected during the first half of calendar year 2010.

Project costs for the Pyrenees development are approximately US$1.7 billion, of which BHP Billiton's share is 71.43 per cent (approximately US$1.2 billion). The expenditure includes the purchase of a floating production, storage and offloading vessel and the development of 13 subsea wells tied back to this facility. The field is estimated to have an economic life of 25 years and BHP Billiton is the operator.

The other co-venturer in the project is Apache Corporation with a 28.57 percent interest.

The Pyrenees fields of Crosby, Ravensworth and Stickle were discovered in WA-12-R in July 2003 and have estimated recoverable oil reserves in the range of 80-120 million barrels of oil. Water depth across the development area is between 170 to 250 meters.

BHP Billiton Group President Energy, J. Michael Yeager said the Pyrenees development is a welcome expansion to BHP Billiton's oil producing assets in Western Australia.

"The Pyrenees development presents another solid opportunity for the Company to commercialize reserves in the Exmouth Sub-basin, an important oil region in Australian waters," Mr Yeager said.

"Pyrenees is the second FPSO development we are undertaking in the region and builds on our knowledge and execution capability in Western Australia. In November 2005 we approved the development of the Stybarrow oil field located in the Exmouth Sub-basin, approximately 20 kilometers west of the Pyrenees development. Stybarrow start up is on schedule for the first quarter of calendar year 2008."

The FPSO vessel will be disconnectable, double hulled and able to process approximately 96,000 barrels of oil a day. Oil export will be via shuttle tankers.

The Pyrenees WA-12-R project has been subjected to a comprehensive environmental impact assessment process that has involved extensive consultation with the local community and other key stakeholders.

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