BHP Makes Deepwater Discovery with Vortex-1

BHP Billiton has made a natural gas discovery at the exploratory well on its Vortex prospect in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Drilling on Vortex-1 began September 9, 2002, in Atwater Valley Block 261 in water depths of approximately 8,344 feet using the drill ship Deepwater Millennium. In addition to the initial well, a sidetrack was drilled 2,900 feet west of the #1 well to a total depth of 19,330 feet.

BHP Billiton holds a one-third interest and is operator of the Vortex prospect, with partners Kerr-McGee Corp. and Ocean Energy, Inc. each also holding a one-third interest.