BHP Billiton sells stake in Browse gas project to PetroChina

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Sydney, Australia (4E) – PetroChina, China’s largest oil and gas producer, is planning to purchase the Browse gas-export project in Australia from BHP Billiton.

China’s biggest listed oil producer by market value has agreed to pay $1.63bn for the stake that will include BHP’s 8.3 per cent holding in the East Browse and 20 per cent stake in the West Browse joint venture.

PetroChina’s offer, however, still requires regulatory approval and existing participants in the project such as Royal Dutch Shell and Woodside Petroleum have the right to match the offer.

Keen to meet increasing energy demand by a growing economy, China has been actively acquiring oil and gas assets throughout the globe.

State-owned Cnooc has recently paid $15.1bn for Canada’s Nexen, a move that prompted concerns that the Canadian government had given Beijing too much control of its oil and gas sector.

Browse is part of the second wave of Australia-based liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, although it is yet to start construction and would not begin shipment until 2018. The proposed project puts them in competition with North American or East African gas suppliers.

Companies worldwide have invested at least $170bn to build LNG projects on the coastline of Australia. LNG is chilled to become liquid form so that it can be shipped through sea transport.

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