Shell Swaps Australian Fields, Pays Chevron $450 Million

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, will swap fields with Chevron Corp. and pay $450 million to raise a stake in Australia’s Browse gas titles.

Shell will boost its holdings in the West Browse fields to 35 percent and East Browse to 25 percent, it said today in a statement. Chevron will get Shell’s 33.3 percent in Clio and Acme, expanding its resource base for the Wheatstone liquefied natural gas project, the U.S. company said separately.

“This is a good deal, not only because it aligns with Shell’s strategy of bigger direct stakes in key gas resources, but because it also helps to simplify the ownership of the Browse gas fields,” said Andy Brown, upstream international director at Shell. “The Browse gas fields are a key LNG development opportunity for Australia.”

Chevron and Shell are among companies investing about $180 billion in the development of seven LNG ventures in Australia to meet growing demand for energy in Asia. The two companies are investors in the Browse and Wheatstone LNG projects.

The exchange “fits strategically with our long-term plans to grow our Wheatstone area resource base, and create expansion opportunities for the Wheatstone project,” said George Kirkland, a vice chairman at Chevron. Shell, based in The Hague, will exit the Clio-Acme titles in the Carnarvon Basin where Chevron has made at least six natural-gas discoveries, according to the San Ramon, California-based company.

The West and East Browse titles cover the Torosa, Brecknock and Calliance fields, which will supply to Browse LNG, Shell said.

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