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Oil production starts offshore Australia

  |   May 21, 2013 at 6:14 AM
SYDNEY, May 21 (UPI) -- Australian energy company Santos said it expects to produce 15,000 barrels of oil per day from its Fletcher Finucane project offshore Western Australia.

Santos said it started oil production from the facility ahead of schedule and on budget. The $490 million development was sanctioned in January 2012.

"Fletcher Finucane is projected to have an average gross production rate of 15,000 barrels per day for the first 12 months of production," the company said in a statement. "The project's gross proved and probable reserves are estimated at approximately 14 million barrels."

The field was discovered in 2011. The company said the project would extend the economic life of the nearby Mutineer-Exeter oil fields, on stream for a number of years. Santos said the development follows the launch of similar discoveries made in 2011.

"Fletcher Finucane start-up adds significantly to our oil production and is the fifth development project Santos has delivered on budget and schedule in the past two years," Santos Chief Executive David Knox said in a statement.

Australia has few oil reserves, relying on imports to meet its needs.

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