September 19, 2019 / 3:41 AM / a month ago

Mitsui looks to sell 35% stake in Australian BassGas project

MELBOURNE, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Japan’s Mitsui & Co has put its 35% stake in the BassGas project off southeastern Australia up for sale, with Rothschild advising on the proposed disposal, the company said on Thursday.

Mitsui Australia’s spokesman confirmed that Rothschild has been engaged to advise on the sale of the stake, which Mitsui acquired with its takeover of AWE last year. The planned sale was first reported by The Australian Financial Review newspaper.

BassGas, operated by Beach Energy, has been producing gas and liquids from the Yolla field in the Bass Basin off the state of Victoria since 2006. The gas is processed at a plant onshore and supplies the Australian east coast market.

Mitsui’s share of output from the project in the year to June 2019 was about 1.1 million barrels of oil equivalent, as calculated by Reuters based on Beach’s 53.8% share at 1.7 mmboe.

Beach spokesmen were not immediately available to comment on whether the company might be interested in the stake or would have pre-emptive rights on it.

Mitsui’s move comes at the same time that Exxon Mobil Corp has put its much bigger but ageing Bass Strait oil and gas assets up for sale, which analysts and bankers have said would be of interest to Mitsui.

Mitsui declined to comment on whether it would be interested in the Exxon assets.

Reporting by Sonali Paul Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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