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BHP Billiton to quit US shale oil and gas

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The world’s largest mining firm has this week announced its intention to divest the US shale oil and gas division of its business following pressure from disgruntled shareholders.
BHP's operations at the Fayetteville Shale, USA
BHP’s operations at the Fayetteville Shale, USA.

Despite a buoyant commodity market, and exceptional financial performance for the business overall; BHP announced that it had slashed net debt by nearly $10bn to $16.3bn and tripled its financial dividend to $0.43 a share, BHP is actively pursuing options to dispose of its US shale operations.

The move comes only six years after BHP’s enormous $20bn investment in shale. It is thought the company’s foray into shale has cost it around $30bn in total.

Chief Financial Officer of BHP, Peter Beaven, has stated that he would like to see the sale of the company’s US shale assets to have been completed within the next 24 months.

Chief Executive, Andrew Mackenzie, commented on the move:

“The shale acquisitions were poorly timed. We paid too much,” adding that BHP will not repeat the mistake of acquiring assets at the top of commodity market cycles.

“We have fundamentally changed the way we think about capital allocation, and the process that supports this, to make sure this discipline remains entrenched throughout the cycle.”

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Tags: Oil & Gas
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