Stuart Petroleum acquires stake in Oliver development project

Stuart Petroleum has acquired a major stake in the Oliver development project, a Timor Sea oil field discovered by BHP Petroleum.

Offshore staff

ADELAIDE, Australia -- Stuart Petroleum has acquired a major stake in the Oliver development project, a Timor Sea oil field discovered by BHP Petroleum.

Stuart will fund the drilling of an appraisal well on Oliver, 700 km (435 mi) west of Darwin and 30 km (19 mi) north of the Jabiru production licenses.

The company will also undertake all engineering studies up to a final investment decision (FID) authorizing development, to earn its 50% interest in Oliver.

Drilling of the Oliver-2 appraisal well, with the associated engineering studies, are expected to cost around $60 million. The sale agreement also commits Stuart to then additionally sole fund the first $25 million of development expenditure for the field.

Stuart will examine a range of funding options including debt and equity to fund these initial project commitments, and is targeting first production from Oliver by the end of
2011.

Stuart will assume operatorship of the Oliver field in the Australian-administered section of AC/P33 in the Timor Sea permit, from Auralandia NL.

BHP Billiton discovered a 170-m (558-ft) column of oil, gas, and condensate from 2,927 m (9,603 ft) depth in the Oliver-1 exploration well in 1988 – the field remains undeveloped since then.

08/21/2008

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