BHP says mines normal after Apache gas blast

June 4, 2008

June 3rd (Reuters) – BHP Billiton Ltd/Plc (BHP.AX: Quote, Profile, Research)(BLT.L: Quote, Profile, Research), the world’s top miner, said its Western Australian mines were operating normally after an explosion cut natural gas supplies from an offshore plant.

“At this stage we’re operating as normal. However, we’ll continue to assess the situation as we get more information,” a BHP Billiton spokeswoman said in an e-mail.


About 30-40 percent of gas supplies in Western Australia, mostly to industrial users, were cut off on Tuesday after an explosion at the Varanus Island gas processing plant operated by Apache Energy, a unit of U.S.-based oil and gas producer Apache Corp (APA.N: Quote, Profile, Research).


Apache said on Tuesday gas supply would be affected for a number of days. Woodside Petroleum (WPL.AX: Quote, Profile, Research), Australia’s second-largest oil and gas producer, said it would try to help cover some of the shortfall.


Customers along the Goldfields Gas Pipeline include BHP Billiton’s nickel mines and its Mount Newman iron ore mine, and gold mines owned by Newmont Mining Corp (NEM.N: Quote, Profile, Research).


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