Esso Identifies New Gippsland Basin Gas Resource

Esso Australia Resources Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil Australia, has identified further natural gas resources in the Gippsland Basin as a result of seismic, drilling and evaluation programs.

ExxonMobil Australia Chairman Mark Nolan confirmed these programs had identified a further 300 billion cubic feet of gas in 2006, on top of the 700 billion cubic feet announced in 2005.

"We have added approximately 1 trillion cubic feet of gas to existing resources in Gippsland since 2004 - enough gas to power a city of a million people for 20 years," Mr. Nolan said.

"While these additions to gas resources will help meet growing energy demand in Eastern Australia, they are also important from an environmental perspective," he added.

"In fact gas can produce up to 70 percent fewer emissions than coal in power generation and also uses up to 80 percent less water."

Mr. Nolan noted that additions to the Esso resource base strengthen an already extensive foundation, underpinning the long-term competitiveness of the Gippsland gas business in supplying gas to South Eastern Australia.

"As an indication of our confidence in the substantial gas resource remaining in the basin, we are planning to begin a comprehensive formation evaluation study to look into the untested deeper basin gas potential under our existing fields," Mr. Nolan said.

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