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wpl mauritania article

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    I woke up this morning in disbelief - Woodside has actually said something positive about Mauritania!

    Woodside's oil field to boost Mauritania

    December 14, 2005
    WOODSIDE Petroleum, Australia's second-largest oil and gas producer, said its $990 million Chinguetti oil project in Mauritania might almost double the west African nation's revenues over the next decade.

    Depending on crude oil prices, the Mauritanian Government was likely to get between $125 million and $410 million a year in revenues from the project from 2006 to 2010, and between $60 million and $206 million for the following five years, the Perth-based company said in a report. Mauritania's average annual budget revenues were about $316 million in the five years to 2002.

    Woodside and its partners, which include Britain's BG Group and Australia's Hardman Resources, might start up the Chinguetti project in late February, chief operating officer Keith Spence said last month. The revenue calculations were based on crude oil prices at $US30, $US40 and $US60 a barrel.

    "At all three price scenarios, revenue is highly significant in terms of recent national budgets," Woodside said in its draft social impact assessment report on the project, published yesterday on its website. "Decisions made by the Government of Mauritania will be critical in realising the potential benefits of an oil industry for the nation."

    The Chinguetti field holds about 123 million barrels of proved reserves and will have initial production of about 75,000 barrels a day.

    Production was expected to decline to about 45,000 barrels a day two years after start-up, requiring additional wells to be drilled to restore output, the venture said in its environmental statement for the project.

    The social impact report was a condition of the venture's environmental approval, said Niegel Grazia, a spokesman for Woodside's Mauritanian operations. Premier Oil, Roc Oil and the Mauritanian Government also have stakes in Chinguetti.

    Mauritania's exports currently consisted almost exclusively of iron ore and unprocessed fish and the economy was heavily dependent on imports, the report said. Per capita income was about $US430 in 2003, the World Bank said in an August 10 report.

    Mauritania this year became the latest African nation to join an anti-corruption agreement aimed at stemming the tens of billions of dollars lost to bribery and theft in the continent's oil-exporting nations. It adopted the initiative in mid-September, Mohamed Aly Ould Sidi Mohamed, who became Energy Minister after a coup d'etat the previous month, said in Johannesburg in late September.

    Increased inflation, appreciation of the local currency and political and social tensions were among the potential disadvantages of the project identified in the draft report, which is open for public review for 60 days.

    "One of the big benefits of the project is the revenue, and that leads to potential negative impacts that need to be managed," Mr Grazia said.

    Royal Dutch/Shell is Woodside's biggest shareholder.


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