BHP Billiton ponders writedown of US shale gas assets

By OGJ editors

BHP Billiton Petroleum is considering whether to write down its US shale gas assets by the end of the quarter, as it already plans to cut the number of shale gas wells it drills in the coming months, the company’s chief executive officer told the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association conference in Adelaide.

Michael Yeager said BHP Billiton plans to spend slightly less than the $4 billion that it originally budgeted for onshore US operations.

BHP Billiton acquired Petrohawk Energy Corp., Houston, for $12.1 billion, giving the Australian firm operated positions in the US Eagle Ford, Haynesville shale resource plays, and the Permian basin (OGJ Online, July 25, 2011).

BHP Billiton plans to review its assets at the end of its financial year on June 30.

“We hope everybody knows that we'll take another accounting snapshot in the future and whenever those circumstances are changed, that whatever action we take now, may get reversed later on,” Yeager said.

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