BHP, Apache Start $1.5 Billion Macedon Gas Project in Australia

Sept. 20 (Bloomberg) -- BHP Billiton Ltd., Australia’s largest oil producer, started its $1.5 billion Macedon natural gas project, according to partner Apache Corp.

The development, Western Australia’s fourth domestic gas hub, began operating last month and has production capacity of 200 terajoules a day, Houston-based Apache said in an e-mailed statement. Melbourne-based BHP owns 71.4 percent of Macedon, while Apache owns the rest.

Western Australia faces a gas shortage, with prices tripling since 2005, according to the state’s DomGas Alliance, which represents state users such as Newmont Mining Corp. and Alcoa Inc.

Apache plans to invest about $1.9 billion in Australia this year, including the Coniston and Balnaves oil projects and the Julimar development, the company said.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Paton in Sydney at jpaton4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jason Rogers at jrogers73@bloomberg.net