July 25, 2008

BHP Billiton Approves $625 Million Budget for Turrum Field Development

International primary resource company BHP Billiton has approved an expenditure of $625 million for the full field development of the Turrum oil and gas field, a significant hydrocarbon resource in the Gippsland Basin, offshore the Australian state of Victoria.

The Turrum development will produce new supplies of natural gas and liquids through new and existing Bass Strait facilities. Turrum is part of the Gippsland Basin joint venture in which BHP Billiton and ExxonMobil subsidiary and operator, Esso Australia Resources, each have a 50% interest.

The development consists of a new platform, Marlin-B, linked by a bridge to the existing Marlin-A platform. Marlin-A will require upgrading to accommodate the bridge and new equipment. The field is expected to start up in 2011.

Initially the gas will be injected back into the reservoir after capturing oil and gas liquids. Gas sales are expected to then commence in 2015 at approximately 200 million cubic feet per day, on a 100% basis. All products will be processed by the Gippsland basin joint venture facilities.

The Turrum field is located 42km from shore in about 60m of water. Full field development is expected to recover approximately one trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 110 million barrels of oil and gas liquids.

Michael Yeager, BHP Billiton Petroleum CEO, said that the Turrum project would build on BHP Billiton's long-life producing assets in the Bass Strait and follows the recent approval of the Kipper gas field development in December 2007.