The effective date of the transaction is 1 January 2004.
Under sale and joint operating agreements negotiated with Mitsui E&P Australia Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsui & Co., Ltd. Mitsui will become a full joint venture participant in WA- 271-P and the Enfield production license WA-28-L. In addition, Mitsui will participate in future exploration and production in the permit.
The sale is expected to close by the end of April 2004 after the conditions of Australian Government approval have been obtained. Woodside's acting Chief Executive Officer, Keith Spence, said the sale fulfilled a key step in Woodside's growth strategy for the Greater Enfield Area.
Woodside has held a 100% interest in WA-271-P since it was awarded in 1997. The permit contains the Vincent, Enfield and Laverda discoveries.
"Our recent announcement to develop the Enfield oil project, and favorable market conditions, enable Woodside to realize immediate value from the sale while still maintaining significant exposure to the long-term growth potential of the Greater Enfield Area," he said.
Mr. Spence said Woodside was delighted to welcome Mitsui as a joint venturer, particularly as Mitsui brought particular experience in the Japanese oil market where most of the Enfield crude would be sold.
"Mitsui, one of Japan's largest conglomerates, has an extensive energy group involved in international oil and gas exploration and production, marketing, oil refining and LNG operations," Mr. Spence said.
"Woodside has a long-established relationship with Mitsui through its involvement in the Woodside operated North West Shelf Venture and this transaction allows us to extend that relationship."
Mitsui has an established presence in Australia through the Wandoo, Cliff Head, Yolla and Casino projects.
Mr. Spence said proceeds from the sale would be dedicated to Woodside's extensive suite of development projects for which the Company expected to commit about A$4 billion over the next three-to-five years.
He said Woodside maintained its objective of producing about 100 million barrels of oil equivalent by 2007 through the addition of projects such as the Neptune discovery in the Gulf of Mexico and, beyond 2007, the Tiof oil discovery in Mauritania and other discoveries in the Greater Enfield Area.
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