BHP Billiton Approves Its Share of NWS Angel Development

BHP Billiton has approved its share of development costs for the North West Shelf Venture's Angel gas and condensate field off the northwest coast of Australia. Development will begin immediately following final investment decisions by all of the joint-venture participants.

Based on the operator's estimate the total investment is A$1.6 billion (BHP Billiton's share approximately US $200 million). This will include installation of the Venture's third major offshore production platform off the North West Shelf and associated infrastructure, including a new subsea 50km pipeline which will be tied in to the first trunkline at the North Rankin platform. The development is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2008.

BHP Billiton's Group President Energy, Philip Aiken, said: "The development is another significant step in BHP Billiton's goal to maximize the value of our interest in the North West Shelf and follows our approval of the fifth train expansion earlier this year."

"The Angel project continues to build on the foundation of the North West Shelf's LNG business," Mr Aiken said.

The remotely operated Angel processing platform will be in 80 meters of water about 49km east of the Venture's existing North Rankin production facility. Hydrocarbons will be produced through one processing unit with a capacity of up to 800 million standard cubic feet of gas a day plus associated condensate.

The six equal participants in the NWS Project are: Woodside Energy Ltd. (16.67% and operator); BHP Billiton Petroleum (North West Shelf) Pty Ltd 16.67%); BP Developments Australia Pty Ltd (16.67%); Chevron Australia Pty Ltd (16.67%); Japan Australia LNG (MIMI) Pty Ltd (16.67%); and Shell Development (Australia) Pty Ltd (16.67%). CNOOC NWS Private Limited is also a member of the North West Shelf Venture but does not have an interest in North West Shelf Venture infrastructure.