BHP Billiton confirms gas in Thebe-1

BHP Billiton says its Thebe-1 exploration well in block WA-346-P offshore Western Australia has confirmed a gas column of approximately 73 m (240 ft) encountered in the Exmouth Plateau of the Carnarvon basin.

Offshore staff

MELBOURNE, Australia -- BHP Billiton says its Thebe-1 exploration well in block WA-346-P offshore Western Australia has confirmed a gas column of approximately 73 m (240 ft) encountered in the Exmouth Plateau of the Carnarvon basin.

Atwood Oceanics Inc.'s semisubmersible drilling rigAtwood Eagle began drilling Thebe-1 in the first week of July 2007.

The well lies approximately 300 km (186 mi) off the northwest coast of Western Australia in water depths of 1,173 m (3,848 ft). It has been abandoned following coring and analysis.

"The Thebe discovery is an excellent addition to our global portfolio," says Steve O'Rourke, BHP Billiton petroleum global exploration president. "The results are encouraging, and we will now proceed with further data gathering and evaluation."

Thebe-1 is the second significant BHP Billiton gas discovery in the basin. It lies 50 km (31 miles) north of the Scarborough gas field in which BHP Billiton is a 50% partner with ExxonMobil.

BHP Billiton operates Thebe-1 with 100% interest in the field.

8/14/2007

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