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Santos Ltd today announced an initiative covering the low permeability gas discovered by Santos and its joint venturers in the Nappamerri Trough in the far north-east of South Australia. The area of the Nappamerri Trough is shown on the attached map and represents approximately 5% of Petroleum Exploration Licences Nos. 5 and 6.

Santos Ltd and its joint venturers have to date invested approximately $50 million in the exploration for, and discovery of, low permeability gas in the Nappamerri Trough, of which some $45 million has been expended since 1993. Subject to joint venture approval, further investment of at least $100 million will be planned for the Nappamerri Trough (including not less than $50 million by the end of 2003) in addition to any investment which may be made in production facilities and operations. Partial relinquishment of the area will apply at the end of 2003 and again at the end of 2008 and 2013, dependent upon the level of expenditure and success of the programme.

Commenting on the announcement, the Managing Director of Santos, Mr Ross Adler, said:

Continuity of tenure over the Nappamerri Trough recognises the major investment made to date by Santos and its joint venturers in the discovery of low permeability gas in the Nappamerri Trough and will ensure a continuing and co-ordinated programme of further major investment in the appraisal and development of that gas. This will facilitate the growth within Santos Adelaide headquarters of a world class centre of expertise in the development of low permeability gas and continue a comprehensive programme and approach which have been endorsed by international experts as being of world class. The expertise and associated technology being developed in relation to the Nappamerri Trough may provide future opportunities for technology transfer and application to other low permeability gas provinces in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Joint venturers currently holding interests in the Nappamerri Trough are Santos Group (59.75%), Delhi Petroleum Pty Ltd (20.21%), Boral Energy Resources Ltd (13.19%), Gulf Australia Resources Ltd (4.75%) and Basin Oil NL (2.10%).