HDR hardman resources limited

wpl on mauritania, news

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    SYDNEY, June 10 AAP - Woodside Petroleum Ltd said today its Chinguetti oil
    project in Mauritania should go ahead despite a failed coup attempt in the
    north west African nation at the weekend.
       Shares in Woodside Petroleum Ltd and junior partner Hardman Resources Ltd
    fell sharply today as news of the coup attempt and street battles in
    Mauritania's capital, Nouakchott, spooked investors.
       Woodside Petroleum shares closed 18 cents lower at $11.40 while Hardman
    shares sank nearly nine per cent or five cents to 53 cents.
       "We are in the process of reviewing the impact and implications of the past
    couple of days on our activities in Chinguetti," a Woodside Petroleum spokesman
    said.
       The spokesman said Woodside planned to go ahead with a 50,000-75,000 barrel
    a day operation at Chinguetti, with first production set for 2006.
       He said engineering and environmental studies were planned to begin over the
    next few months, along with drilling program to begin in August.
       "At this stage we don't see any reason to change our schedule and we
    continue on target for a final investment decision on the development there by
    the middle of next year."
       Brokers attributed today's share price fall to weekend unrest in the African
    country, where the companies has extensive interests in oil fields.
       "I think the market is concerned a little bit about it's exposure to
    political risk in that country," Shaw Stockbroking head dealer Jamie Spiteri
    said.
       However, residents of Mauritania's capital city were celebrating today after
    loyalist troops crushed the attempted coup against the Islamic republic's
    pro-Western President Maaouiya Ould Taya.
       The attempted coup was launched amid heightened tensions in the Sahara
    desert country of 2.7 million people, many of them nomads, where the
    pro-Western position of Ould Taya's government has stirred popular resentment.
       "They are all safe and well but were holed up in their respective homes and
    offices during the hostilities," Woodside's spokesman said of its two staff and
    17 contractors in Mauritania.
       Woodside holds a 35 per cent stake in the Chinguetti project while Hardman
    controls a 21.6 per cent share.
       Other partners include Italian ENI SpA (35 per cent), Fusion Oil & Gas PLC
    (6 per cent), and Roc Oil Ltd (2.4 per cent).
       AAP
 
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