BHP Billiton reduces global operations; sells its gas unit

BHP Billiton has agreed to sell its Pakistan gas business to a unit of local conglomerate Hashoo Group.

BHP said it expects the deal, with Hashoo subsidiary Tri-Resources Investment Inc, to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year once it receives all necessary regulatory approvals. The unit operates and owns a 38.5 % stake in the Zamzama gas field in the Sindh province of southern Pakistan.

It didn’t say how much the deal is worth.

BHP has been offloading unwanted assets in recent years in an effort to narrow its focus on fewer operations and commodities as a global resources boom slows.

The company recently said it would sell its shale-gas assets in Fayetteville, Arkansas. BHP separately plans to spin off nickel, aluminium and other properties into a new company in what is expected to be one of the biggest demergers in mining history.

BHP Petroleum president Tim Cutt said in September that the company was seeking a buyer for its Pakistan assets as part of the broader push to simplify the company’s asset base, so it can prioritise where it spends its cash. He said then that there were several other small petroleum assets that BHP would look to sell, without elaborating.

BHP operates oil-and-gas assets across Australia, the US and Trinidad and Tobago. The Zamzama gas plant, which has been operating for more than a decade, is BHP’s only asset in Pakistan.