Australia's BHP Sells North Sea Energy Assets

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: The Broken Hill Proprietary Co. (BHP) Ltd. has sold its south North Sea energy assets to the Eastern Group PLC. The sale includes BHP's interests in the Ravenspurn and Johnston gas fields, plus various nonproducing gas assets, but does not affect BHP's stake in the Bruce, Keith, and Liverpool Bay fields in the United Kingdom. BHP said it is surrendering an 18% stake in Ravenspurn and a 31% stake in the Johnston gas-producing field. The sale was expected to generate around AUS$200 million (US$133 million) in the current financial quarter. BHP described the assets "nonstrategic," and said their sale was to improve shareholder value. BHP lost US$903 million on $13 billion in revenues in the 1998 fiscal year. The company's revenues were $13.8 billion the previous year.

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