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Cyclone threatens Australian oil

AUSTRALIA'S Bureau of Meteorology said yesterday 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 yesterday. "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 on Friday it was shutting down the Stag and Legendre oil fields with a combined capacity of about 13,200 barrels per day, while Australia's Santos said it was suspending output from the Mutineer-Exeter oilfield, which produces 13,800 barrels per day.

Other oil and gas operators in the path of the storm said they were unaffected.


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