SYDNEY – Royal Dutch Shell Plc will pay $450 million and swap interests in two fields off the Australian coast with Chevron Corp holdings in a $30 billion-plus liquefied natural gas (LNG) project that has been plagued by infighting among its stakeholders.
Shell is expanding its interest in the Browse LNG project, which has suffered cost blowouts and been caught up in rows about the best location an LNG plant and opposition from environmentalists and Aboriginal landowners.
The project is led by Australia’s largest oil and gas firm, Woodside Petroleum, with Shell, BP, Chevron, and BHP Billiton also having interests.
Australia, which is expected to surpass Qatar as the top LNG exporter by the end of the decade, has more than $170 billion worth of LNG export projects under construction.
Shell will exchange a one-third interest in the Clio and Acme fields in the Carnarvon Basin off northwest Australia for a 16.7 percent interest held by Chevron in the East Browse block and a 20 percent interest it holds in the West Browse block, the companies said in a statement.
The swap gives Chevron full ownership of blocks WA-205-P and WA-42-R and help expand its Wheatstone area resource base in Western Australia.
Chevron plans to increase production at the $29 billion Wheatstone plant to 25 million tons per year (mtpa) from the 1 mtpa of LNG under construction. The plant is expected to start exporting gas in 2016.
Buying Chevron’s interests in the A$30 billion ($31 billion) Browse LNG project in Western Australia means Shell will hold a 35 percent interest in the West Browse block and 25 percent interest in the East Browse block.
Chevron and Shell said asset exchange was subject to governmental approval. – Reuters