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Bloomberg: Woodside’s Belicoso-1 Exploration Well Finds No Gas (Update2)

By Angela Macdonald-Smith

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) — Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Australia’s second-largest oil and gas producer, said the Belicoso-1 well that was targeting a discovery that may supply an expansion of the Pluto liquefied natural gas project failed to find gas.

Results from the well still support further exploration in the area off Australia’s northwestern coast, Perth-based Woodside, which is 34 percent owned by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, said today in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange. The failure of the well isn’t critical for future expansion of Pluto, it said.

Woodside said last week that the 100 percent-owned Belicoso-1 well was targeting a discovery of as much as 1.5 trillion cubic feet of gas and has “multitrillion cubic feet” follow-up prospects in the so-called Cazadores area of the Carnarvon Basin. The well lies to the northwest of Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Jansz discovery and to the northeast of BHP Billiton Ltd.’s Thebe find.

“Belicoso did not encounter hydrocarbons, however the well intersected reservoir thickness and quality better than anticipated,” Woodside said in the statement. “The result reinforces the exploration potential of the area and the company intends to fully explore the region.”

Woodside gained 0.7 percent in Sydney trading to close at A$48.12 after benchmark oil prices in New York advanced to a record $99.29 a barrel.

Wells in the outer region of the Carnarvon Basin are “high-risk, high-reward,” Agu Kantsler, Woodside’s director of exploration and new ventures, said Nov. 15 in Sydney. Belicoso will be followed by the drilling of the Ixion-1 well, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the planned platform at Pluto, he said.

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

Last Updated: November 21, 2007 03:40 EST

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