Woodside Planning Mauritania Drilling Program

Woodside Petroleum Ltd announced that it is planning a drilling program offshore Mauritania during the third quarter of this year. The company hopes that this program will pave the way for Mauritania's first oil production. Woodside chairman Charles Goode said the company had started development planning associated with its first international oil discovery, 90 km off the Mauritania coast. Goode said the exploration and appraisal drilling campaign in the greater Chinguetti area would be a major influence in determining the scope and timing of any commercial development. "Success here would be a particularly exciting outcome as it would most likely result in Mauritania's first oil production and the first Woodside-operated international oil production facility," he said.

Woodside is planning to spend A$200 million ($106 million) on exploration in calendar-year 2002, targeting Australia, West Africa and the Gulf of Mexico.

The Woodside operated Chinguetti-1 well offshore Mauritania last May found a gross 90 meter gross oil column, sparking speculation that a major new oil province had been discovered. The follow-up Courbine well failed to find significant oil or gas shows.