BHP Billiton to sell $1.63b stake in gas project to China

BHP Billiton has agreed to sell its $1.63 billion stake in a gas project off the coast of Western Australia to China's largest oil and gas company.

The Browse LNG joint venture includes pulling together three off-shore gas fields north of Broome and delivering it to an on-shore plant that would process it into liquified natural gas.

This involves cooling the gas into a liquid so it can be stored and exported.

BHP's stake is being sought by PetroChina, the public arm of the Chinese Government owned China National Petroleum Corporation.

If BHP and PetroChina can tick the proper legal boxes, the deal could be done in the first half of next year.

BHP petroleum chief executive Michael Yeager said the deal was an "excellent opportunity" for both sides.

He said PetroChina would have a stake in a "world class gas resource".

Woodside Energy holds the major stake in Browse, along with Shell, BP, Japan Australia LNG.

Any of those have the option to match PetroChina's offer.

The Chinese gas giant is considered one of the world industry leaders, with more than 500,000 employees.

However, one of its subsidiaries faced government-ordered fines in 2007 after it pumped 100 tonnes of benzene into a major waterway two years earlier, affecting the water supplies of millions in parts of China and Russia.

The Chinese Government spent about $950 million mopping up the 80km slick in the years that followed.



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