U.K.-based BP PLC submitted an offer of more than US$10 billion to acquire BHP Billiton Group's U.S. onshore oil and gas assets, making it the front-runner in the auction run by the Australian mining firm, Reuters reported July 7, citing unnamed sources.
The two companies could reach a deal in the next few weeks, the sources noted without providing specific details on the offer. The potential acquisition would allow BP to rebalance its business with oil production by adding oil-rich wells in the Permian and Eagle Ford basins of Texas after the company focused on natural gas assets.
BHP decided to sell its onshore shale assets in the Eagle Ford, Permian, Haynesville and Fayetteville basins after it came under pressure from activist hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. to spin off its U.S. oil assets and streamline its corporate structure.
Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Chevron Corp. also took part in the auction, the report noted.