BHP's new shale swagger

As BHP Billiton's liquid shale returns grow and the company examines the prospect of US gas exports, its relative position in the American market is also gaining pace.

The timing of BHP Billiton’s $US20 billion splash on US shale gas ultimately forced chief executive Marius Kloppers and his petroleum boss J Michael Yeager to voluntarily forgo their short-term bonuses. But increasingly, the damage to the company is also looking short-term.

The slump in US gas prices, thanks to a historic surge in production, landed BHP with a $US2.8 billion writedown on the Chesapeake Energy Fayetteville assets in August. Five hundred million dollars in goodwill was gone.

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