PetroChina eyes the exit from Australia, Canada: press
PetroChina could exit its Australian upstream portfolio and instead prioritise more lucrative sites in the Middle East, Africa and central Asia, Reuters reported June 28, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
PetroChina owns Australian coal-bed methane explorer Arrow Energy and a stake in Woodside Petroleum's conventional gas field Browse. The two assets are considered big loss-makers, and PetroChina's parent company CNPC is said to lack "competitive edge" in the Australian market. PetroChina could also cease operations in Canada where sources say two wholly-owned oilsands projects, MacKay and Dover, are churning up significant losses.
The move comes as Beijing faces increased US scrutiny over suggestions it could help the Kremlin bypass certain Western sanctions, particularly those related to foreign currency access and international payments.
PetroChina insists its plan has nothing to do with the restrictions. But it admits Beijing's souring political relations with Canada and Australia also contributed to its decision to exit.
Arrow Energy was sold to PetroChina for $2.5bn via a joint-venture agreement with Shell in 2010. The coal-bed methane producer later bought out BHP's stake in Browse for around $1.7bn, Reuters said.