BHP Billiton sells oil field interests

BHP Billiton today announced it has agreed to sell its interests in the Laminaria and Corallina oil fields to Paladin Oil & Gas (Australia) for $150 million.

BHP Billiton today announced it has agreed to sell its interests in the Laminaria and Corallina oil fields to Paladin Oil & Gas (Australia), a subsidiary of the UK’s Paladin Resources.

The purchase price is $150 million and is subject to adjustments for working capital and cash flow movements between 1 July 2004 and completion.

The sale of BHP Billiton’s interests in the Laminaria and Corallina oil fields is said to be part of the company’s active portfolio management strategy. Following a review, BHP Billiton’s interests in the fields were identified as being non-core to BHP Billiton’s future petroleum strategy.

The Laminaria and neighbouring Corallina oil fields were discovered in 1994 and 1995 respectively, and are located in the Timor Sea, about 550km west-north-west of Darwin.

The fields were developed with a Floating Production Storage and Offloading facility, the Northern Endeavour, which is moored between the two oil fields in 385 metres of water.

Oil production from Laminaria and Corallina commenced in November 1999, and a second phase of development commenced production in June 2002.

The sale to Paladin is subject to the pre-emptive rights of joint venture participants, and formal government approvals. The transaction is expected to be completed in early 2005.