23 March 2007
BHP Billiton announced today that it has expanded its Petroleum exploration portfolio with the addition of deepwater offshore acreage in Malaysian waters. PETRONAS, Malaysia’s national oil company, awarded the Company two offshore blocks, Block N and Block Q.
The blocks are located approximately 175 kilometres offshore from Kota Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah, in water depth ranging from 1600 to 2800 metres.
In contracts signed with PETRONAS, BHP Billiton holds a 60 percent ownership interest in both blocks and is Operator. PETRONAS Carigali holds the remaining 40 percent interest. The awarding of the blocks is based on an exploration program to be undertaken by BHP Billiton over a seven year period. It includes seismic acquisition, reprocessing and exploration drilling in the blocks. PETRONAS Carigali are carried by BHP Billiton during the exploration program.
BHP Billiton Petroleum Vice President Global Exploration, Rob Pascoe, said the Company viewed the offshore Sabah region as a highly prospective area.
"We believe this is a lightly explored area where we can apply and extend our two decades of exploration and production experience obtained in offshore and deepwater operations from Australia, the Gulf of Mexico, and elsewhere around the world," Mr Pascoe said.