Apache Corp is pushing ahead with a large expansion of its Australian oil and gas operations over the next three years that involves spending billions of dollars in Western Australia this year and next.
The plans coincide with the US company’s decision to sell $4 billion of its assets to shore up its balance sheet, and also come as Australia’s natural gas sector struggles with cost overruns and faces competition for Asian liquefied-natural-gas business from North America, and potentially East Africa, where there is shale gas and large reserves of recently discovered offshore gas respectively.
The company will spend $1.9 billion this year in the Western Australian state where its operations are located, and a similar amount next year as it rolls out new projects.
Apache is a minority partner in Chevron’s $29 billion Wheatstone gas-export project in Western Australia and has long-established interests in domestic gas infrastructure in the state.
Last month Apache unveiled its Bianchi gas discovery off Western Australia and said it was assessing potential commercial opportunities for the find, along with the nearby Zola field, where it struck gas in 2011.