BHP Billiton Ltd. has sold a 15% interest in oil and gas exploration blocks in Namibia to Japanese trading company Mitsui & Co. (MITSY). The financial terms of the deal aren't being disclosed, a spokesman for BHP Billiton said, adding that the move allowed the company to spread its risk.
Mitsui said it had acquired interest in exploration licenses for the Northern Block - block 2813A and 2814B - and the Southern Block - block 2914 and adjacent acreage - located about 220 kilometers off the coast of Namibia to the southwest.
Decisions regarding further exploration for hydrocarbons in the Southern Block will be made after 3D seismic data analysis has been finished, the company said.
Following the sale, BHP Billiton will hold a 75% interest in the exploration blocks, Mitsui affiliate Mitsui Atlantic Energy BV will have 15%, and South African state-owned oil and gas company PetroSA will have 10%.
Mitsui said it is aiming to participate in newly developing projects in the Atlantic market, where demand for energy is expected to grow.
The deal in Namibia will be the latest energy-related acquisition in the region by Mitsui after it acquired an interest in the Equatorial Guinea Liquefied Natural Gas Project in 2005. The deal also marks the first time a Japanese company has participated in such exploration licenses in Namibia, Mitsui said.