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BHP Billiton May Try To Sell U.S. Fayetteville Shale Asset Again

Oil Rigs

BHP Billiton said on Wednesday that it is proceeding with a divestment of non-core U.S. acreage for value, and is considering all options for its Fayetteville shale gas asset in Arkansas, including a possible divestment.

Back in October 2014, the mining and commodity giant first mentioned that it was considering the sale of the Fayetteville field.

As we look to improve the balance of liquids and gas across our Petroleum portfolio we have initiated the marketing of our Fayetteville acreage. However, we will only divest the field if it maximises value for shareholders,” BHP Billiton said back then.

Now the group is looking again at monetizing its portfolio by selling non-core U.S. acreage, and may decide again to sell Fayetteville. At the same time, BHP Billiton is increasing development activity in the Haynesville, having approved two additional rigs in the shale play.

BHP’s crude oil, condensate, and natural gas liquids production for the nine months ending March 2017 dropped by 19 percent, the group said in its operational review for the period. Onshore U.S. liquids volumes declined by 33 percent due to reduced activity in the Black Hawk for value, and natural field decline at Hawkville, which more than offset increased liquids production from the Permian.

Referring to Hawkville, BHP said that the sale of up to 50,000 acres in “the southern Hawkville is well advanced, with bids received and under evaluation.”

Related: OPEC’s No.2 Plans Significant Raise In Crude Output Next Year

Earlier this month, hedge fund manager Elliott Advisors, which holds around 4.1 percent of BHP Billiton Plc, proposed a plan to increase capital returns to shareholders, which includes demerging the U.S. petroleum assets and listing them separately on the NYSE.

After reviewing Elliott’s plan, BHP Billiton’s board and management “concluded that the costs and associated disadvantages of each element of Elliott’s proposal would significantly outweigh the potential benefits,” the group said a couple of days later.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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