BHP in $5bn US gas deal

BHP BILLITON yesterday agreed to buy US shale gas assets from Chesapeake Energy Corporation for $4.75bn cash, in its first acquisition since a series of failed major deals.

BHP said the deal, expected to close in the first half of the year, would give it the second largest position in one of the largest gas fields in the world and increase its oil and gas reserves by 45 per cent.

The natural gas properties are located in the Fayetteville shale, a natural gas field in central Arkansas. BHP aims to triple daily production as the field is developed.

BHP chief executive Marius Kloppers, who last week said the firm would only buy tier 1 assets, said the deal was “consistent with its strategy”.

BHP’s move to acquire Chesapeake Energy’s assets comes just three months after the Anglo-Australian company dropped its hostile bid to acquire Canada’s Potash Corp.