Santos Increases Interest in WA-214-P

The John Brookes joint venture has signed a letter of intent with Newcrest Mining Limited for 20 million cubic feet a day over 15 years with sales expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2004.

The John Brookes discovery is located in exploration permit WA 214-P, in the Carnarvon Basin, offshore Western Australia. The field was discovered in 1998 with the drilling of John Brookes-1.

Work on the development plan for John Brookes will now be completed, with project sanction expected during the first quarter of 2004 and first production in mid 2005.

"The successful appraisal of Thomas Bright-2 gives us greater confidence to market this gas," said Santos' Managing Director, Mr, John Ellice-Flint.

In addition, Santos has taken a further 7.5 percent interest in the exploration permit WA 214-P increasing its interest from 37.5% to 45% effective December 1, 2003 prior to drilling the Thomas Bright-2 appraisal well.

Apache has also increased its interest in the permit from 37.5% to 55%.

Santos (45%) and Apache (55% and operator) are also joint venturers in the East Spar gas field (WA 13L) and the related processing and gas export facilities on Varanus Island.

"This transaction aligns the commercial interests of the East Spar Joint Venture and the John Brookes Joint Venture, delivering a more focused approach to exploration, development and gas commercialization," said Mr. Ellice-Flint.

Interests in WA 214-P are now Apache North West Pty Ltd as operator with 55% and Santos (BOL) Pty Ltd with the remaining 45%.