(Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell Plc <RDSa.L> and U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group LP <BX.N> are working on a joint $10 billion (7.24 billion pounds) bid for BHP Billiton Plc’s <BLT.L> U.S. shale assets, Sky News said on Thursday.
Shell and Blackstone’s offer will only be one of several credible proposals that BHP will receive for its U.S. shale operations, Sky News said, citing banking sources.
BHP and Blackstone declined to comment. Shell could not immediately be reached for comment.
Steve Pastor, BHP’s president for petroleum operations, said this week the company would consider swapping certain onshore oil and gas assets with competitors’ offshore assets as part of its effort to exit U.S. shale operations.
BHP, the world’s largest miner, said last month it expected to receive initial bids for the operations in the June quarter.
The company said last year it would exit its underperforming U.S. shale oil and gas business after coming under pressure from Sydney-based Tribeca Investment Partners to sell the assets.
U.S. activist investor Elliott Management has also called for BHP’S exit from shale to free up capital.
(Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton and Mark Potter)