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Bloomberg: Woodside, Santos Ramp Up Field Output After Weather Shutdowns

By Angela Macdonald-Smith

March 16 (Bloomberg) — Woodside Petroleum Ltd. and Santos Ltd., Australia’s second- and third-largest oil and gas producers, are ramping up production at oil fields off the northwest coast that were closed last week on the approach of a tropical cyclone.

The Woodside-operated North West Shelf venture yesterday reconnected the production vessel used at the Cossack oil project to the field and was resuming output, said Peter Kermode, a spokesman in Perth. Santos resumed output at the Mutineer-Exeter field, while Woodside restarted the Legendre field.

George, the first tropical cyclone this November-April season in northwestern Australia, shut down more than 40 percent of Australia’s oil production late last week. It was followed by Jacob, which crossed the coast March 12 and then weakened below cyclone strength.

Santos’s A$440 million ($347 million) Mutineer-Exeter project, which was shut down late on March 5 on the approach of George, has resumed production, said Kathryn Mitchell, a spokeswoman at the Adelaide-based company. Nippon Oil Corp., Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Co. and Woodside have stakes in the venture, which produced an average of about 43,500 barrels of oil a day in the December quarter.

Woodside resumed output at the Legendre oil field earlier this week, said Tony Johnson, a spokesman. Apache Corp. and Santos have stakes in Legendre, which produced about 6,500 barrels a day of oil in the December quarter. Neither the North West Shelf venture’s natural gas production nor Woodside’s Enfield oil field was affected by the cyclones.

BHP Billiton Ltd., the nation’s biggest oil and gas producer, hasn’t yet resumed production at the Griffin oil field, which was halted on March 7, said Emma Meade, a spokeswoman in Melbourne. The production vessel is back at the field and some maintenance work is being carried out as the company awaits calmer conditions to reconnect, she said.

Griffin, in which Exxon Mobil Corp. and Inpex Holdings Ltd. have stakes, produced about 7,800 barrels a day of oil in the year ended June 30.

Chevron Corp. restored production at all the Barrow Island and Thevenard fields by March 12.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angela Macdonald-Smith in Sydney at [email protected] .

Last Updated: March 15, 2007 19:54 EDT

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