Anadarko Expects First Oil at El Merk in Late 2011

HOUSTON (Dow Jones Newswires), Aug. 5, 2009

Development of Anadarko Petroleum Corp.'s El Merk oil field project in Algeria is still on track, with first oil seen in late 2011, Chief Executive Jim Hackett said Tuesday.

The site preparation is under way and most major contracts have been awarded, Hackett said during a conference call with investors.

Other major projects, such as the Caesar/Tonga development in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and the Jubilee project in Ghana, also remain on schedule. Jubilee "remains on track," Hackett said, and is expected to see first oil in late 2010. Caesar/Tonga at the Constitution field will deliver first oil in early 2011, he said.

The Houston independent oil and gas company's chief executive said that capital costs have dropped significantly. "We expect to spend 30% less on our projects in 2009 relative to the previous year," Hackett said.

Meanwhile, a tax dispute with Algeria currently on arbitration is "not going to be a quick process," said Anadarko's General Counsel Robert Reeves.

"It could be 18 months to 2 years before we see any kind of decision," Reeves said.  

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