PetroChina to buy minority stake in BHP Billiton's Browse LNG JV for $1.63 bn

State-owned Chinese oil giant PetroChina today struck a deal to buy a minority stake in Anglo-Australian miner BHP Billiton's controversial Browse LNG joint venture project for $1.63 billion.

The move comes just a few days after another Chinese state run oil company Cnooc secured Canadian government approval for its proposed $15.1 billion acquisition of Canada's oil explorer Nexen Inc. (See: Canada approves Cnooc-Nexen $15.1 bn deal)

BHP Billiton, the world's biggest mining company, which is also into oil and gas exploration, said that it will sell its 8.33 per cent stake in the East Browse LNG JV and 20 per cent interest in the West Browse JV, located offshore in Australia's west coast.

The Perth-based company said that its other JV partners, Woodside Petroleum, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Japan Australia LNG - a joint venture between Mitsubishi and Mitsui, have the right to match the offer, which requires regulatory approval.

BHP Billiton's chief executive of the petroleum business, Michael Yeager, said, ''This is an excellent opportunity for both companies. PetroChina has acquired an interest in a world class gas resource and BHP Billiton has exited a non-strategic asset.''

The company's decision to exit the Browse project comes after US energy giant Chevron sold its entire stake to Shell.