Shell, PetroChina make joint offer for Arrow Energy

Royal Dutch Shell PLC and PetroChina have made a joint takeover offer worth $3.3 billion (Aus.) for Brisbane-based coal seam methane gas (CSM) player Arrow Energy Ltd.

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, Mar. 8 -- Royal Dutch Shell PLC and PetroChina have made a joint takeover offer worth $3.3 billion (Aus.) for Brisbane-based coal seam methane gas (CSM) player Arrow Energy Ltd.

Arrow has received the nonbinding conditional bid from a company jointly owned by Shell and PetroChina under which Arrow shareholders would receive $4.45 (Aus.)/share in cash plus one share in a new company comprising Arrow’s international business.

Arrow had been planning to list 20% of its international arm on the Singapore or Hong Kong stock exchanges after an initial public offering to be held during the first half of the 2010-11 financial year. As of Mar. 8, the company recommended that its shareholders take no immediate action in relation to their shares.

Observers say the bid has been sparked by the recent ownership restructure of Arrow’s planned Fisherman’s landing CSM-LNG project in Gladstone—in particular a potential sell-down of Arrow’s interest in its domestic CSM acreage to help fund the cost of the project, which has worried Shell.

Shell already holds 10% interest in these assets as well as a 10% stake in Arrow’s international business.

Arrow’s recent fall in share price, its increase in CSM reserves and its move to acquire 100% of the Fisherman’s Landing project have combined to make the company an attractive takeover target.

The move marks another step by the majors into the CSM-LNG projects in Queensland. It follows BG Group’s $5.6 billion (Aus.) buy-out of Queensland Gas Co. in 2008 and ConocoPhillips’s $9.6 billion (Aus.) investment in Origin Energy’s Queensland CSM-LNG project soon afterwards.

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