Chevron to buy stakes in two Australian shale gas assets from Beach Energy for $349 mn

Chevron Corp yesterday unveiled plans to buy stakes in two shale gas assets in Australia from Beach Energy, for up to $349 million, as the US oil giant bets on replicating the recent US unconventional energy boom in Australia.

Chevron will initially pay Beach $36 million in cash and cover $95 million in costs for a 30-per cent interest in Beach Energy's Cooper Basin Joint Venture PEL 218 in South Australia and another $59 million in cash for an 18-per cent stake in its ATP 855 joint venture in Queensland.

The Adelaide-based company may receive up to $349 million over two stages for both permits over several years, Beach Energy said in a statement.

The total acreage covers an area of 810,000 acres and is still to be developed for shale gas, lies close to pipelines belonging to rival energy companies on the eastern coast.

Under the deal, Chevron will explore, evaluate and assess the potential for unconventional gas from shale and tight gas.

''This agreement provides an opportunity to explore a new, prospective basin and potentially add to our natural gas portfolio,'' Chevron's Australia managing director, Roy Krzywosinski said in a statement.