Australia's Origin Energy Doubles Stake In Beetaloo Shale Gas Field


SYDNEY, May 5 (Reuters) - Australia's top energy retailer, Origin Energy, said on Friday it doubled its stake in the Beetaloo Basin shale gas field in Australia's Northern Territory.

The company said it increased its share in the undeveloped prospect to 70 percent, after purchasing a 35 percent share from Sasol Petroleum Australia Ltd. It did not disclose a purchase price and said the transaction is subject to "certain conditions," without elaborating.

"It is not expected to impact on Origin's short-term focus on debt reduction as there are no immediate capital requirements in the Beetaloo," Origin said in a statement.

In February, Origin said it estimates contingent resources in the field to be 6.6 trillion cubic feet. But its extraction depends on the Northern Territory government lifting a ban on hydraulic fracking. The government is reviewing the ban but has set no deadline for making a decision.

Origin last week reported soaring gas revenues, thanks to a sharp rise in sales, as a supply crunch in Australia pushes prices higher.

Falcon Oil and Gas Australia owns the remaining 30 percent of the joint-venture.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Richard Pullin)


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