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BHP Billiton Secures Major Long Term Gas Supply Agreement

BHP Billiton today announced it had secured a significant long term gas supply agreement with a leading Australian energy company, Origin Energy, to supply gas to south eastern Australia.

Under the agreement 250 petajoules (PJs) of natural gas will be supplied over ten years from the Gippsland Basin oil and gas fields, located offshore Victoria and operated by BHP Billiton’s joint venture partner Esso Australia Pty Ltd.

Gas supplied under the agreement approximates to five per cent of the south eastern gas market in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.

The supply of gas will commence late 2009, representing a continuation of BHP Billiton’s long term customer relationship with Origin Energy.

BHP Billiton continues to receive considerable interest in long term gas supply as demand for natural gas rises in eastern Australia, particularly in response to the increasing role of natural gas in the power generation sector.

BHP Billiton Petroleum Australian Country Manager, Phil Byrne, said this agreement is a welcome addition to BHP Billiton’s expanding eastern Australia gas supply portfolio, recently enlarged with the sanction of the Kipper gas field development in December 2007.

"After over 30 years of production, our Gippsland Basin holdings continue to supply competitively priced energy to meet expected south eastern Australia gas demand," Mr Byrne said.

The Gippsland Joint Venture participants are: Esso Australia (50 per cent and operator); BHP Billiton (50 per cent).