Contracts Awarded for Kipper Project

ExxonMobil subsidiary, Esso Australia Resources Pty Ltd, announced that it had awarded the key engineering contracts for the construction and development of the Kipper Gas Project in Bass Strait.

The Kipper Gas Project is being pursued by the Kipper Unit Joint Venture -- Esso Australia Resources Pty Ltd (operator, 32.5%), BHP Billiton (32.5%) and Santos Limited (35%) -- in arrangements with the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture (Esso and BHP Billiton).

ExxonMobil Australia Chairman Mark Nolan said that having taken a final investment decision in December 2007 it was critically important that the project secured high quality contractors in a timely manner.

"With the award of the key contracts for the Kipper Project, we expect that construction can now commence from the second half of 2008 and as such we remain on schedule to deliver first gas to South-East Australia in 2011," Mr Nolan said.

"The Kipper project will not only help underpin the jobs of the 1000 people currently employed through the ExxonMobil Group of Companies in Victoria but at the same time will deliver significant flow on benefits throughout the local economy, including the creation of up to 200 further jobs during the construction phase," he said.

Commenting on the announcement ExxonMobil's Director of Gas Marketing, James Hunsaker said that, "Kipper provides an important new supply source to meet Australia's growing demand for clean-burning natural gas."

The Kipper field will be developed by the installation of a number of subsea wells, piped back to existing infrastructure at Longford. The contracts awarded cover the key development requirements for the project including the supply of sub-sea equipment and facilities and their subsequent installation.

The Kipper resource holds approximately 620 billion cubic feet of recoverable gas and 30 million barrels of condensate/LPG and is located in 100 metres of water, approximately 45 kilometres from Ninety Mile Beach on the Gippsland coast of Victoria.