BHP Billiton May Look For More Shale Buys

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BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, may look to purchase shale gas assets outside of the U.S. to complement the U.S. deals the Anglo-Australian mining giant struck earlier this year with Chesapeake Energy (CHK), the second-largest U.S. natural gas producer, and Petrohawk Energy.

Last month, BHP announced it will acquire Petrohawk (HK) for $12.1 billion. That deal makes BHP the seventh-largest independent oil and natural gas producer in the world, according to Bloomberg News.

BHP (BHP), Australia's largest oil company, could also pursue liquefied natural gas assets, CEO Marius Kloppers said on the company's second-quarter earnings conference call. Australia is home to a booming liquefied natural gas industry as demand for cleaner-burning fuels in Asia soars.

BHP said it is in discussions with Exxon Mobil (XOM) about an Australian liquefied natural gas venture that may cost as much as $20 billion to develop, Bloomberg reported. BHP did not identify specific assets or acquisition targets.