BHP Billiton's shale gas writedowns may not have come as a surprise, but Australia's commentariat still found plenty to ruminate on in the announcement and management's defence. One scribe says BHP chair Jac Nassar is showing chief Marius Kloppers more support than many realise, while another is sure the board is working on a succession plan. Others see hints of Alcan and Magna Copper. Elsewhere, jotters warn that the pervading forces that landed Europe and America in so much trouble are more dangerous than the individual crises themselves, and pour cold water over suggestions the Reserve Bank will intervene to bring down the value of the Australian dollar.
But first, The Australian Financial Review's Matthew Stevens reckons BHP chair Jac Nasser's "carefully crafted" defence of Marius Kloppers is "rather more definitive than a bald assertion of support."