• Perth Basin oil and gas holdings may fetch over A$200 million
  • Origin selling assets to shore up balance sheet amid oil rout

Origin Energy Ltd. has drawn interest for its oil and gas assets in Western Australia’s Perth Basin from companies including Transerv Energy Ltd. and AWE Ltd., according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The Australian explorers are among suitors evaluating bids for the Origin assets, which may fetch more than A$200 million ($150 million), the people said, asking not to be identified as the details are private. 

After raising A$2.5 billion in a share sale last year, Origin plans to sell at least A$800 million of assets by the end of its 2017 financial year as it seeks to shore up its balance sheet amid an oil-price rout. The Sydney-based company is also trying to dispose of its Mortlake and Darling Downs pipelines, Cullerin Wind Farm and the development site for its Stockyard Hill Wind Farm.

Origin has temporarily halted the process to sell its minority stake in Santos Ltd.’s Cooper Basin operations while its partner undertakes a review of the asset, the people said. Representatives for Origin and AWE declined to comment, while a Perth-based spokeswoman for Transerv said she couldn’t immediately comment.

The Perth Basin assets include a stake in the producing Beharra Springs gasfield as well as an interest in the Waitsia project, according to Origin’s website. Sydney-based AWE, which also holds stakes in Beharra Springs and the Dongara gas processing plant, owns 50 percent of Waitsia and is the operator of the project, its website shows.

Origin, which built a A$24.7 billion gas export project with ConocoPhillips on Australia’s east coast, said in September it plans to reduce its dividend and cut spending to lower net debt to below A$9 billion. It agreed in February to sell the Mortlake Terminal Station to the plant’s operator, AusNet Services, for A$110 million in cash.

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