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Number 40/07

BHP Billiton today announced that participants in the Kipper Gas Field Development have approved the first phase of development of the Gippsland Basin field located offshore Victoria to produce new supplies of natural gas and liquids through new and existing Bass Strait facilities.

The first phase of the project includes two new subsea wells, three new pipelines and platform modifications. Gas and liquids will be processed via Esso and BHP Billiton’s Gippsland Joint Venture facilities. The Kipper field is located approximately 45 kilometres from shore in about 100 metres of water, and has a confirmed resource of approximately 620 billion cubic feet of recoverable gas and 30 million barrels of condensate/LPG. Estimated field life is 15 years.

First production is expected in calendar year 2011.

Costs for this phase of the development of the Kipper gas field and related Gippsland Basin infrastructure are approximately US$1.1 billion, of which BHP Billiton’s share is 45 per cent (approximately US$500 million).

BHP Billiton Chief Executive Petroleum, J. Michael Yeager, said the Kipper development is a welcome expansion to BHP Billiton’s producing assets in Bass Strait.

“After over 30 years of production, our Gippsland Basin holdings continue to provide significant development opportunities and Kipper is the latest addition. Also, Kipper will be an important part of our Eastern Australia gas supply portfolio and will allow us to meet expected South Eastern Australia gas demand.”

The Kipper Unit Joint Venture (KUJV) production will be the first gas to use the Esso-BHP Billiton Gippsland Basin joint venture facility that has third-party ownership.

The KUJV participants are: Esso Australia (32.5% and operator); BHP Billiton (32.5%); and Santos (35%). The Gippsland Joint Venture participants are: Esso Australia (50% and operator); BHP Billiton (50%).

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

Don Carroll, Investor Relations
Tel: +61 3 9609 2686  Mobile: +61 417 591 938
email: Don.A.Carroll@bhpbilliton.com

United Kingdom
Andre Liebenberg, Investor Relations
Tel: +44 20 7802 4131  Mobile: +44 7920 236 974
email: Andre.Liebenberg@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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