The news comes as the North West Shelf joint venture is working towards transitioning the project as it runs out of natural gas and moves towards a tolling model, under which it will process gas into LNG for third-party companies.
A representative for Chevron said it would continue to support its partners in the North West Shelf’s base business and work on the transition to a “competitive and profitable tolling facility”.
“We value our relationships with the North West Shelf project participants, with whom we have shared interests in Australia and internationally,” he said.
Chevron said it remained committed to its Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG projects in Western Australia. “Australia remains a focus for Chevron,” the spokesman said.
The company is also re-entering the Australia’s retail fuel market after sealing a $425 million acquisition of Puma Energy.
David Low, a senior analyst with Wood Mackenzie, said North West Shelf operator Woodside Petroleum may emerge a likely buyer of Chevron’s 16.6 per cent holding.
Chevron did not identify any potential buyers and is yet to reach a decision on the sale.
“In terms of buyers, there are a few likely suitors, but of the existing participants we see Woodside as the most likely buyer,” Mr Low said. “It is well-positioned financially and has announced it is ready and looking for merger and acquisition opportunities in Australia.
Mr Low added that Chevron would continue to focus on “squeezing maximum value” from its two other large LNG projects in Australia “without the distractions of the North West Shelf”.
Woodside, which has not disclosed its intention, on Thursday acknowledged Chevron’s announcement and the company’s contribution to the project.
“As one of its six founding partners, Chevron has been a part of building the North West Shelf Project into what it is today – one of Australia’s most important infrastructure assets,” a Woodside spokeswoman said. “The North West Shelf Project is a significant supplier of gas to the Western Australian and international markets and we look forward to unlocking its future value alongside our joint venture partners.”
Business reporter for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.