AFX Europe (Focus): BHP Billiton will not comment on speculated Woodside ownership change: “Media reports have suggested that the Shell stake may be up for sale but there has been no confirmation by Shell or Woodside.” (ShellNews.net) 3 Dec 04
Dec 03, 2004
SYDNEY (AFX) - BHP Billiton's energy group chief executive Philip Aiken said he would not comment on speculation that the ownership of Woodside Petroluem Ltd may change.
Aiken told a briefing that BHP Billiton did not comment on speculation about ownership changes after being asked whether the group may be interested in acquiring the Shell group of companies' interest of about one-third of Woodside.
Media reports have suggested that the Shell stake may be up for sale but there has been no confirmation by Shell or Woodside.
The reports suggested China's CNOOC Ltd might acquire the interest from Shell to further cement a long-term relationship involving a contract for 25 bln aud in gas sales to China from the Woodside-operated North-West Shelf gas project off northwest Australia's coast.
BHP Billiton is a one-sixth owner in the project.
Aiken said the project is important to BHP Billiton but his company also hopes to develop other gas reserves for export as LNG, key among these being the Scarborough field, in which ExxonMobil also has a stake.
Aiken said the Scarborough field could be developed to supply LNG to BHP Billiton's proposed Cabrillo Port import terminal off the Californian coast but if this market is not gained China could be an alternative.
(1 usd = 1.29 aud)