BHP seeks to sell $500m energy assets in Pakistan

BHP Billiton Ltd, the world’s biggest mining company, is seeking to sell energy assets in Pakistan, which could fetch as much as $500 million, said three people with knowledge of the matter.

By Zijing Wu And Matthew Monks (Bloomberg)

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Published: Fri 21 Feb 2014, 10:38 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 5:14 PM

BHP has interviewed banks for a potential sale of its stake in the Zamzama project in Pakistan’s Sindh province, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. BHP holds 38.5 per cent of Zamzama, which produces gas and condensate, according to its annual report.

The world’s major energy companies are divesting assets as oil prices decline. Royal Dutch Shell Plc said last year it was entering a divestment phase and plans to sell production assets in Nigeria, the US, and possibly some other regions, along with interests in refineries and retail. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. agreed to sell its China assets to Brightoil Petroleum Holdings Ltd for $1.08 billion this month.

BHP’s assets in Pakistan have “limited running room for future growth,” Tim Cutt, the company’s president of petroleum and potash, said at an analyst briefing in December. Zamzama produces oil and gas sold to domestic users in Pakistan, on term contracts based on the government’s pricing policies, according to BHP’s 2013 annual report. Emily Perry, a Melbourne-based spokeswoman for BHP, declined to comment. BHP last year agreed to sell its Liverpool Bay energy assets in the UK.

The Zamzama project is a joint venture with ENI Pakistan Ltd., PKP Exploration Ltd. and the government. BHP’s share of production from its Pakistan assets was 273,000 barrels of oil and 53.76 billion cubic feet of gas in the twelve months ended June 30, 2013, according to the company.

Brent crude, a benchmark that helps determine the price of more than half the world’s oil, has dropped 24 per cent from its 2008 peak.

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