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Number 60/02

BHP Billiton today announced that it has made a natural gas discovery at the exploratory well on its Vortex prospect in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

Drilling on Vortex-1 began September 9, 2002, in Atwater Valley Block 261 in water depths of approximately 8,344 feet using the drillship Deepwater Millennium.  In addition to the initial well, a sidetrack was drilled 2,900 feet west of the #1 well to a total depth of 19,330 feet.  BHP Billiton holds a one-third interest and is operator of the Vortex prospect, with partners Kerr-McGee Corp. and Ocean Energy, Inc. each also holding a one-third interest.  

Andrew Nairn, Investor Relations
Tel:    +61 3 9609 3952  Mobile: +61 408 313 259

Tracey Whitehead, Media Relations  T
Tel:    +61 3 9609 4202  Mobile: +61 419 404 978

United States
Francis McAllister, Investor Relations
Tel:    +1 713 961 8625  Mobile: +1 713 480 3699

United Kingdom
Mark Lidiard, Investor & Media Relations
Tel:    +44 20 7747 3956

South Africa
Michael Campbell, Investor & Media Relations
Tel:    +27 11 376 3360  Mobile: +27 82 458 2587

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