Technology Extends Bass Strait Oil Life

Applying the latest advances in oil field technology, Esso Australia Resources Pty Ltd., a subsidiary of ExxonMobil Australia, has added approximately 30,000 barrels a day to liquids production since 2005.

Liquids production from the Gippsland operations averaged 127,000 barrels a day in 2006.

To date, the drilling program has involved an investment of approximately $300 million to drill wells at Kingfish, Bream, Halibut and Fortescue platforms. This follows an investment of approximately $100 million in seismic recording and reprocessing.

ExxonMobil Australia Chairman Mark Nolan said that the drilling program has added to production and significantly extended the life of the Bass Strait fields.

"The results so far give us confidence that there is today more than 20 years left of oil production in Bass Strait," Mr Nolan said.

"For example, the Kingfish field – Australia’s largest-ever oil field, from which over 1 billion barrels of crude has been produced – continues to be one of our most important oil producers 40 years after its discovery."

He said that improvements in technology, particularly related to seismic processing and analysis and drilling accuracy, have played an integral part in the success of this program.

"As a result we have been able to more precisely firm up targets, and also go back over older areas to identify and extract more oil," Mr Nolan said.

There is also approximately more than 30 years of gas still to be produced from Gippsland.

Esso Australia Resources Pty Ltd operates the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture on behalf of a 50-50 joint venture with BHP Billiton.