BHP Sells Stake Laminaria and Corallina Oil Fields



BHP Billiton has agreed to sell its interests in the Laminaria and Corallina oil fields to Paladin Oil & Gas (Australia) Pty Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of Paladin Resources plc, an independent oil and gas company listed on the London Stock Exchange.

The purchase price is US$150 million effective as at 1 July 2004, and is subject to adjustments for working capital and cash flow movements between July 1, 2004 and completion.

The sale of BHP Billiton's interests in the Laminaria and Corallina oil fields is part of the Company's active portfolio management strategy. Following a review, BHP Billiton's interests in the fields were identified as being non-core to BHP Billiton’s future petroleum strategy.

The Laminaria and neighbouring Corallina oil fields were discovered in 1994 and 1995 respectively, and are located in the Timor Sea, about 550km west-north-west of Darwin, in offshore production licences AC/L5 and WA-18-L.

The fields were developed with a Floating Production Storage and Offloading facility, the Northern Endeavour, which is moored between the two oil fields in 385 meters of water. Oil production from Laminaria and Corallina commenced in November 1999, and a second phase of development commenced production in June 2002. The facility is operated by Woodside Energy Ltd.

The sale to Paladin is subject to the pre-emptive rights of joint venture participants, and formal government approvals. The transaction is expected to be completed in early 2005.

BHP Billiton has a 32.6125 per cent interest in Laminaria. The other participants are Woodside Energy Ltd (operator – 44.925 per cent) and Shell Development (Australia) Proprietary Limited (22.4625 per cent). The Laminaria field is unitised over licences AC/L5 and WA-18-L.

BHP Billiton has a 25 per cent interest in Corallina. The other participants are Woodside Energy Ltd (operator– 50 per cent) and Shell Development (Australia) Proprietary Limited (25 per cent).
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