News Release
April 09, 2001

ESSO/BHP SIGNS LONG-TERM TASMANIA GAS DEAL

Esso Australia Resources Pty Ltd and BHP Ltd have signed a long term supply agreement with Duke Energy International enabling the introduction of natural gas to Tasmania.

The supply agreement will provide substantial underpinning volumes for the pipeline for up to 15 years starting in 2002. The signing follows an initial Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between Duke, BHP and Esso in July 1999.

"This agreement marks a significant new era for Tasmania," said Mr David McGough, Vice President Gas Business Development BHP Petroleum, on signing the agreement with Duke Energy.

"For the first time Tasmanian businesses and consumers will have direct access to a long-term competitive gas supply," he said.

"Experience tells us that natural gas brings economic growth. Existing Tasmanian industries will become more competitive and new industries will be attracted to Tasmania," said Mr Nick Heath, Esso Australia’s Gas Marketing Director.

Esso/BHP won the contract to supply Duke after demonstrating access to long-term reserves and willingness and ability to supply competitively priced gas over a long period.

"Esso/BHP's operations in Bass Strait have been supplying gas to Victoria for more than 30 years. Our plentiful reserves, established infrastructure and world-class gas production facilities at Longford have proved once again why Esso/BHP is the gas supplier of choice in South Eastern Australia," he said.

Esso/BHP will need to increase the capacity of Longford to supply Tasmania.

The Tasmanian supply agreement comes only a few months after Bass Strait gas began flowing from Gippsland into New South Wales through Duke Energy's Eastern Gas Pipeline.

Contact: Chris Welberry, Esso Australia
Phone: Mob (0438) 080 998
24 Hour Phone: n/a
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Contact: Mandy Frostick, BHP
Phone: ph (03) 9609 4157; Mob (0419) 546 245
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