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Santos to acquire holding in Evans Shoal field

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Apr. 9 -- Australian company Santos Ltd. has agreed to acquire up to a 40% interest in Evans Shoal field in the Timor Sea in a transaction worth $80 million (Aus.).

Santos estimates the field contains 6.6 tcf of recoverable dry gas reserves.

Santos plans to acquire all outstanding shares and options in Natural Gas Australia Ltd. NGA's principal asset is a 15% stake in Evans Shoal field. NGA has also accepted field operator Shell Development (Australia) Pty. Ltd.'s offer to acquire a 25% interest in the field by exercising its preemptive rights.

The NGA acquisition will be a stock-for-stock transaction. Then, Santos will provide NGA funding of up to $25 million (US) to acquire up to the offered 25% interest.

"The timing of the field�s development will be dependent upon gas demand from existing gas users, fuel switching and commissioning of greenfields projects," said Santos.

Evans Shoal gas field is on NT/P 48 license, 300 km north of Darwin. The field is operated by Shell, which has had a 75% interest in the field. The other interest holders are NGA (15%) and Osaka Gas Co. Ltd. (10%). Osaka Gas acquired its interest from Shell in July 2000.

Santos also has an interest in other fields nearby, including Bayu-Undan gas field and Petrel and Tern fields.

Santos Managing Director John Ellice-Flint said, "The Timor Sea has the potential for a world-class 20 tcf gas project, which would have great benefits for Australia and the new nation of East Timor."

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