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Mitsui Wants to Develop Australian Oil

07 November 2001 , 14:09520
"We would like to expand our upstream operations to have a unified flow of our energy operations from upstream through downstream, and also diversify our sources," a spokesman said.

Mitsui plans to complete drilling on eight prospects by next summer, and hopes to start commercial production by 2005.

The total cost of the initial drilling and rights to the areas, located off Perth, Dampier and Darwin, is expected to be around 1.5 billion yen ($12.34 million).

Mitsui will hold a 57.25 percent stake in the programme. Its subsidiary Mitsui Oil Exploration Co will hold 28.5 percent and Sydney-based Wandoo Petroleum Pty Ltd will hold 14.25 percent.

Wandoo will team up with Australian oil development companies to obtain the drilling rights to eight areas by the end of November, the Mitsui spokesman said.

Mitsui, which already owns rights to 30 million barrels from Australia's Wandoo oil field, is expected to control a percentage of rights per drilling area of between 15 and 40 percent.

The trading house plans to invest about 30 billion yen ($246.6 million) to build production facilities if the drilling is successful.

Shares in Mitsui rose 1.56 percent in early trading on the news. The benchmark Nikkei average was up 1.00 percent. ($1=121.59 yen).

(C) Reuters Limited 2001.

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