PetroChina buys stakes in Australian LNG projects

PetroChina buys interests in two gas projects off the West Australian coast.

BHP Billiton announced yesterday plans to sell to PetroChina its stakes in two gas projects off Australia's west coast for $1.6 billion.

It is selling an 8.33% interest in the East Browse joint venture and a 20% interest in the West Browse joint venture to PetroChina International Investment (Australia).  

Michael Yeager, BHP Billiton's head of petroleum, said in a statement: “This is an excellent opportunity for both companies. PetroChina has acquired an interest in a world class gas resource and BHP Billiton has exited a non-strategic asset.”

This is an LNG project in the Browse Basin that hasn't yet started construction. Industry watchers say that the partners have had different views on how best to develop the site.

The transaction, of course, is yet another example of how PetroChina, and other Chinese state-owned enterprises, have been on acquisition sprees for the past two years in the hunt for resources.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and the Browse joint venture participants (Royal Dutch and Woodside Petroleum) waiving their rights to match the offer and other customary conditions.

Completion is expected in the first half of calendar 2013.

Citi acted as financial advisor to BHP Billiton. Morgan Stanley acted as financial adviser to PetroChina Australia.

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