Beach Energy Sees Egypt Interest Spurring Deal in Coming Months

Beach Energy Ltd. is making progress in efforts to sell its oil and gas holdings in Egypt and seeking to sign a deal in the coming months as the Australian explorer hunts for acquisitions at home.

“That process is maturing,” Managing Director Rob Cole said Tuesday in a phone interview, referring to a proposed sale in Egypt. “We’re seeing interest, and I hope to crystallize something in the coming months.”

Beach is searching for acquisition opportunities in Australia to take advantage of rising gas demand on the east coast, he said.

A merger between Beach and Drillsearch Energy Ltd., another explorer in central Australia’s Cooper Basin, “looks logical,” according to a report this month by RBC Capital Markets.

Beach is focusing on the Cooper Basin and also looking at options in the Gippsland or Otway basins in southeast Australia, Cole said. The company is considering those expansion options even as it targets a “major” reduction in spending next year amid a slide in oil prices, the Adelaide-based company said Tuesday in its third-quarter report.

Beach, which owns stakes in projects in Egypt, Tanzania, Romania and New Zealand, said in August it was reviewing all of its overseas assets. In Australia, Beach will look for a new partner after Chevron Corp. last month pulled out of a shale exploration campaign in the Cooper Basin.

The explorer plans to bring in a new partner by June 2016, said Cole, a former Woodside Petroleum Ltd. executive who moved into the top job at Beach last month.

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