BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, could set its sights on a couple of other U.S.-based energy producers should the company not opt to pursue a bid for Anadarko Petroleum, the Texas-based independent oil and gas producer, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Last week, the Daily Mail, a U.K. newspaper, reported that BHP (BHP) was mulling a $90 per share bid for Anadarko (APC), an offer that would value the company at $45 billion. Analysts have argued that a BHP bid for Anadarko may not materialize because of Anadarko's unknown liabilities related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The company held a 25% non-operating interest in the Macondo well project.
There are plenty of other likely targets in the US exploration and production sector and while not all of them are of Anadarko's scale, some of them better match BHP's strategic focus on the deepwater fairway in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Morning Herald.
The paper highlighted Cobalt International Energy (CIE) and Noble Energy (NBL) as two U.S. companies that BHP could be interested in. Both companies are smaller than Anadarko and Noble is the operator of the massive Leviathan gas project in Israel.