North West Shelf Oil Project Approved, to Be Fully Operational in 2011

BHP Billiton has announced approval for the North West Shelf Cossack, Wanaea, Lambert, Hermes (CWLH) redevelopment project for a capital investment of US $245 million (BHP Billiton share).

The CWLH redevelopment project comprises the replacement of the existing Cossack Pioneer Floating Production Storage and Offtake (FPSO) vessel, selected refurbishment of existing subsea infrastructure and the existing riser turret mooring. It will also capture additional oil production from the Cossack, Wanaea, Lambert and Hermes fields located in approximately 75 to 135 meters (245 to 440 feet) of water, approximately 135 kilometers (84 miles) offshore north west Western Australia by extending existing field life and through tie-back of exploration opportunities.

It is expected the CWLH redevelopment project will be completed and fully operational by early 2011 calendar year. The Cossack Pioneer FPSO is to be replaced by the SBM owned "Okha" which is currently configured as a Floating, Storage and Offtake vessel and will require conversion to add topside production facilities.

BHP Billiton Petroleum Chief Executive J Michael Yeager said the fields, which commenced production more than a decade ago (Cossack and Wanaea production commenced 1995, Lambert and Hermes were later), have performed above expectations, and now have much longer field life than originally expected.

"We anticipate this project will generate over 10 million barrels of oil (BHP Billiton share) during its life and it will also extend the life of these fields beyond 2020. During the 2008 calendar year, BHP Billiton has approved the investment of over US $1.1 billion in the overall North West Shelf infrastructure with North Rankin B gas compression and now this project. North West Shelf is a world class asset and represents a significant part of Petroleum's deep portfolio of growth projects that will carry us forward," Yeager said.

The five participants in the project are: Woodside Energy Ltd. (33.33 per cent and operator); BHP Billiton Petroleum (North West Shelf) Pty Ltd (16.67 per cent); BP Developments Australia Pty Ltd (16.67 per cent); Chevron Australia Pty Ltd (16.67 per cent) and Japan Australia LNG (MIMI) Pty Ltd (16.67 per cent).