press release

BHP Billiton completes Mad Dog and Atlantis appraisal wells and announces exploratory drilling results in the Gulf of Mexico

The following is an excerpt of a news release was issued by BHP Billiton.

11 October 2001 -- BHP Billiton today announced results from appraisal and exploratory drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. This includes the completion of appraisal drilling programs at the Mad Dog and Atlantis fields in the ultra-deepwater Western Atwater Foldbelt, as well as results from the exploration wells Boris-1 and Frampton-1.

The Atlantis-3 appraisal well and a lateral sidetrack were drilled on Green Canyon Block 743 in 6,612 feet of water by the BP-operated Glomar Explorer. The sidetrack well reached a total depth of 18,760 feet, encountering hydrocarbon-bearing reservoirs and confirming resource characteristics from earlier drilling on the discovery.

The results provide important technical information, and this will be used to further define the reserve level for the field, currently estimated at 400 to 800 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe). Atlantis is on a fast-track development pace, and sanctioning of a project is anticipated during the first half of calendar 2002.

BHP Billiton owns a 44 per cent interest in Atlantis; BP holds a 56 per cent operated interest.

The Mad Dog-4 appraisal well, located in Green Canyon Block 782, was drilled in 4,430 feet of water by the Unocal-operated Discoverer Spirit to a total depth of 23,117 feet. The well, including a sidetrack drilled laterally approximately 1,500 feet northwest of the original wellbore, encountered hydrocarbon-bearing sands.

These results verify the reservoir continuity on the west flank of the accumulation and indicate a hydrocarbon reserve size estimated at 200 to 450 mmboe. Project sanction by BHP Billiton and its partners for the development of the Mad Dog field is anticipated around the end of calendar year 2001.

BHP Billiton holds a 23.9 per cent interest in the eight-block Mad Dog unit, with partners BP, which holds a 60.5 per cent operated interest, and Unocal, a 15.6-percent-interest owner.

Forward-looking Statements

BHP Billiton is a world leading diversified resources Group and creates value through the discovery, development and conversion of natural resources and the provision of innovative customer and market-focused solutions. The Group is a Dual Listed Company, comprised of BHP Billiton Limited and BHP Billiton Plc, and is headquartered in Australia. Further information about the BHP Billiton Group can be found at: http://www.bhpbilliton.com

Updated: October 2001