Santos & Mitsui Team Up for New Otway Basin Exploration

Santos and the Mitsui & Co. Ltd subsidiary, Mittwell have joined forces again to explore for oil and gas – this time in another part of the offshore Otway Basin, southern Australia.

Santos reports that Mittwell Energy Resources Pty Ltd, already a joint venture partner in the $200 million Casino gas development, has now taken a 25% equity interest in the VIC/P51 exploration permit area.

Mittwell will jointly participate with Santos and existing partner INPEX ALPHA LTD., a subsidiary of INPEX CORPORATION, in a new exploration program in the VIC/P51 permit area, which is in offshore Victoria, in the Otway Basin.

This includes drilling the Callister 1 exploration well, which spudded on October 13th 2004, and is being drilled in VIC/P51 by Transocean's semisub, Jack Bates.

The Jack Bates arrived on location at the site of the Callister 1 well earlier this week, after a 7-week voyage from Norway.

The Mittwell farm-in agreement is subject to approval by relevant authorities.

The VIC/P51 permit covers an area of over 2600 square kilometers. It lies adjacent to the Casino gas development in VIC/P44 and the deepwater exploration permit VIC/P52.

The VIC/P52 permit is the location for Santos' frontier exploration well, Amrit 1, which will be drilled immediately following the Callister 1 well.

"We are pleased to welcome Mittwell as a partner in a portion of our Otway Basin exploration program," Santos' Managing Director, Mr. John Ellice-Flint, said. New interest holders in the VIC/P51 exploration permit are Santos with 55%; Mittwell Energy with 25% and Inpex Alpha Ltd with 20%.