BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie said the mining giant was hoping to sell its US shale assets later this year.
“We have people who are interested in the whole lot and some who are interested in parts of it,” he said.
“We have strong interest at both ends of the spectrum.”
The market estimated BHP’s US shale business was worth between $6 billion and $7 billion thanks to higher oil prices.
BHP announced in August 2017 that it had classified its so-called Onshore assets as non-core.
At the release on its half yearly results yesterday the company reported that:
“We are pleased with the progress that we are making and remain on track to complete the exit within the two-year timeframe we have previously mentioned.
“On the trade sale, extensive work has been performed on each field to prepare for sale. The Fayetteville dataroom is now open and the datarooms for the remaining fields will be opened in coming weeks. Assuming two to three months for due diligence, we expect bids will be received mid-year. Negotiation and completion of transactions would follow and we expect this could take place in the second half of this calendar year.
“In parallel, we are evaluating the demerger and IPO options.
“There has been encouraging interest from potential buyers, the environment for sale is supportive and we remain confident our exit process will deliver value.”
It was reported separately that Royal Dutch Shell said it’s potentially interested in BHP’s oil assets on sale in the Permian basin in the U.S. as it seeks to boost its role in shale.
The Anglo-Dutch company entered the prolific oil region in 2012 and plans to expand its position and generate positive cash flow next year, Andy Brown, Shell’s upstream director, said in an interview on Tuesday.
The Permian offers production costs as low as $15/bbl and is the driving force behind the current surge in U.S. output.
Shell “will look at opportunities to bulk up our shale position,” Brown said at the International Petroleum Week conference in London. BHP has good assets that “overlap our own acreage in the Permian,” and “may be interesting for us.” He didn’t say if the companies are currently talking.