Civil Unrest Will Not Cause Delays for Chinguetti Project

A recent coup attempt in Mauritania has failed. Government forces appeared to be regaining control in the capital of Nouakchott where there had been fighting over the weekend. Woodside said these recent events should not delay the development of the Chinguetti project offshore the country's northwest coast.

The uprising follows a government crackdown on Islamic activists. President Maaouya Sid'Ahmed Ould Taya, not seen by the public since the fighting began early Sunday, was quoted by the BBC on Monday as saying the rebellion ended after the destruction of an armored tank division seized by rebel soldiers.

Woodside is reviewing the current circumstances and the impact that these events might have on the development schedule of the oil project. The company still feels that it will be able to make an investment decision on the project by early 2004. Woodside plans to establish a 50,000-75,000 barrel a day operation at Chinguetti, with first production in 2006. The company is about to begin final engineering studies on the Chinguetti field, along with a program of drilling. The latter, due to start in August, includes two exploration wells and a development well.

Woodside's two staff members and 17 contractors in Mauritania are safe. The company has emergency procedures in place and will evacuate employees if their safety were threatened.