BHP Billiton Nabs Exploration Rights for Block Onshore Colombia

BHP Billiton Petroleum has acquired exploration rights to an onshore block of approximately 7,750,000 acres in the Llanos Basin, Colombia. The Company signed a Technical Evaluation Agreement with the Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos (ANH) to explore block CPE-5.

"We are extremely pleased with this result," said Steve O’Rourke, President Exploration, BHP Billiton Petroleum. "The Colombian government ran a very successful bid round and the Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos recognized that this type of frontier exploration requires access to large acreage tracts. We look forward to extending the known limits of the highly prolific Llanos basin over the next three years."

 BHP Billiton holds a 71.4% interest in the block and is the operator. SK Energy, the petroleum exploration and production affiliate of South Korea's third largest conglomerate, holds the remaining 28.6%. The Technical Evaluation Agreement is based on an exploration program to be undertaken by the Company over a three year period. It includes seismic acquisition and processing and exploration drilling.

BHP Billiton is currently exploring two offshore blocks, Fuerte Norte and Fuerte Sur, in Colombia's Caribbean Sector. The Company holds a 75% interest in each block and is the Operator. BHP Billiton has had a long-standing relationship with the resources industry in Colombia, producing energy coal from the Cerrejon mine and nickel from Cerro Matoso S.A.