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Australia's weather bureau warns of significant flooding

AUSTRALIA'S Bureau of Meteorology said today it anticipated "significant flooding" in the country's mineral-rich northwest as a developing tropical cyclone made landfall.

The system had already prompted two oil field operators, Apache Energy and Santos Ltd, to shut production from some fields, while other operators in Australia's "cyclone alley" were on alert.

"Widespread heavy rain is likely in the Pilbara during today as the system approaches the Pilbara coast, and significant flooding may result," the Bureau said in a statement posted on its website ( earlier today.

"The low remains weak but there is a chance it could develop into a tropical cyclone prior to making landfall. If the system does intensify into a tropical cyclone gales may develop in coastal areas late today."

Apache said yesterday it was in the process of shutting down the Stag and Legendre oil fields with a combined capacity of about 13,200 barrels per day (bpd), while Australia's Santos said it was suspending output from the 13,800 bpd Mutineer-Exeter oilfield.

Other oil and gas operators in the path of the storm, including Woodside Petroleum Ltd and BHP Billiton Ltd, said their operations were unaffected and they were tracking the cyclone.


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