Exxon, BHP abandon lengthy sale of Australia’s oldest oil fields

Photo: Reuters

Two of the world’s biggest energy producers have abandoned the sale of some of Australia’s oldest oil fields after running a 20-month sales process.

Exxon Mobil Corp. and BHP Billiton Ltd. will retain ownership and operation of fields, licenses and associated infrastructure held in the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture after concluding a sale process, Exxon’s Esso Australia unit said Friday in a statement. The two companies reached a joint decision not to progress with the sale of offshore assets owned by the venture, a BHP spokesperson added in an email.

“After consideration of a range of options, we have currently decided to retain ownership and operation of these assets,” Esso Australia, which operates the venture, said. BHP and Esso Australia each hold a 50 percent share. The JV began production in 1969, according to BHP.

Oil prices have recovered from a brutal bust earlier this decade that forced energy majors to either shut or sell aging fields as part of an industry wide cost-cutting drive. Brent crude, the global benchmark, has climbed 37 percent to about $66 a barrel since Exxon and Shell first outlined their plan to sell the assets in June 2016.

Gippsland Basin fields that were marketed include Perch, Dolphin, Seahorse, Tarwhine, Kingfish A, Kingfish B, West Kingfish, Fortescue, Halibut, Cobia, Mackerel, Blackback and Flounder, Esso said in its 2016 statement. Kingfish, discovered in 1967, was the first offshore oil field discovered in Australia and remains the largest, according to Exxon.

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Bloomberg

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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