BHP Billiton Hits Full Capacity at GOM's Neptune Platform

BHP Billiton announced today that its Neptune Tension Leg Platform (TLP) in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, which began production on July 6, has five of six wells on line and has already ramped up the oil production to full design capacity of 50,000 barrels of oil per day. Natural gas production continues to ramp up.

"The achievement to reach full production capacity in just 15 days after start-up on the Company’s first operated, standalone deepwater production platform in the Gulf of Mexico is an outstanding achievement and we’re very pleased with how the facility and wells are performing," said J. Michael Yeager, Chief Executive Petroleum, BHP Billiton. "We have an excellent team of drilling, project and construction personnel, and it is a credit to the team and their excellent work that they were able to deliver a safe and effective production project."

The Neptune TLP was installed in 4,250 feet (1,300 meters) of water on Green Canyon Block 613. Field development includes six initial subsea wells tied back to the TLP. Further development wells are expected to be drilled after interpretation of new seismic data, which will be obtained in the latter half of 2008.

 The Neptune field comprises five blocks: Atwater Valley 573, 574, 575, 617 and 618, where water depths range from 4,200 to 6,500 feet (1,275 to 2,000 meters).

 BHP Billiton is the operator of Neptune with a 35% interest. Partners include Marathon Oil Corporation (30%), Woodside Energy (USA) Inc. (20%), and Maxus (U.S.) Exploration Company (15%).

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