BHP Billiton Makes Discovery in Exmouth Sub Basin

BHP Billiton has made an oil discovery with its exploration well Stybarrow-1 within WA-255-P in the Exmouth Sub Basin off Western Australia. The well reached a measured depth of 2477 meters and encountered a gross oil column of 23 meters with 18.6 metres of net pay in the Macedon Member sandstone reservoir. Water depth is 825 meters. The Stybarrow-1 discovery is located 55 kilometers northwest of Exmouth, off the West Australian coast. The well is 14 kilometers west of Woodside's Enfield discovery and 4 kilometers northwest of its Laverda discovery.

The significance of the well will be assessed following further evaluation of drilling results. Appraisal drilling will be necessary to determine the size of the find.

The discovery is in an area where there have been a number of discoveries made by the industry. Development planning studies would not be completed until after further appraisal and exploration activity in the permit. Drilling on Stybarrow-1 commenced on February 12, 2003 using the Atwood Oeanics' semisubmersible, Atwood Falcon.

Stybarrow-1 is the first well in the current exploration programme in WA-255-P. The Eskdale-1 well, located approximately 13 km north of Stybarrow-1, will also test the Macedon Member sandstone reservoir but in a different trap configuration to Stybarrow-1. Eskdale-1 is expected to spud in early March 2003, after completion of operations on the current well.

Woodside is currently planning development of Enfield, with a potential tie-back of Laverda, with first oil targeted for 2006. "The acquisition and discovery are a boost for Woodside's growth plans," said Keith Spence Woodside's Australian Oil Director. "This discovery reinforces the likelihood of significant production from this attractive new oil province and is an important confirmation of the prospectivity of this area. The seismic in this area is excellent and Woodside has now participated in six exploration wells in permits WA-271-P and WA-255-P of which four have been oil discoveries."

BHP Billiton owns a 50% interest and is the operator of WA-255-P with the other 50% held by Woodside Energy Limited.