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Number 25/07

BHP Billiton announced today a discovery at the Thebe-1 exploration well that was recently drilled offshore Western Australia. The well and subsequent evaluation confirmed a gas column of approximately 240 feet (73 metres) encountered in the Exmouth Plateau of the Carnarvon Basin.

Drilling of the Thebe-1 well began during the first week of July 2007 in block WA-346-P using the semi-submersible rig Atwood Eagle. The well is located approximately 186 miles (300 kilometres) off the North West coast of Western Australia in water depths of 3,848 feet (1173 metres). The well has now been abandoned after reservoir core was collected. BHP Billiton is the operator at Thebe-1 and holds a 100 percent interest in the field.

"The Thebe discovery is an excellent addition to our global portfolio. The results are encouraging and we will now proceed with further data gathering and evaluation," said Steve O’Rourke, President of Global Exploration for BHP Billiton Petroleum.

Thebe-1 is the second significant BHP Billiton gas discovery in the basin and is located approximately 31 miles (50 kilometres) north of the Scarborough gas field in which BHP Billiton is a 50 percent partner with ExxonMobil.

Thebe-1 Map

For further information please contact:

Australia
Samantha Evans, Media Relations
Tel: +61 3 9609 2898  Mobile: +61 400 693 915
email: Samantha.Evans@bhpbilliton.com

Jane Belcher, Investor Relations
Tel: +61 3 9609 3952  Mobile: +61 417 031 653
email: Jane.H.Belcher@bhpbilliton.com

United Kingdom
Mark Lidiard, Investor & Media Relations
Tel: +44 20 7802 4156  Mobile: +44 7769 934 942
email: Mark.Lidiard@bhpbilliton.com

Illtud Harri, Media Relations
Tel: +44 20 7802 4195  Mobile: +44 7920 237 246
email: Illtud.Harri@bhpbilliton.com

United States
Tracey Whitehead, Investor & Media Relations
Tel: US +1 713 599 6100 or UK +44 20 7802 4031
Mobile: +44 7917 648 093
email: Tracey.Whitehead@bhpbilliton.com

South Africa 
Alison Gilbert, Investor Relations
Tel: SA +27 11 376 2121 or UK +44 20 7802 4183
Mobile: +44 7769 936 227
email: Alison.Gilbert@bhpbilliton.com

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