BHP CEO Marius Kloppers.
BHP CEO Marius Kloppers.

BHP boss forgoes bonus on bad data

BHP Billiton's chief executive will forgo his annual bonus after announcing shale gas and nickel write-downs totalling $3.15 billion.

The company is taking a $2.71 billion hit on the value of its Fayetteville shale gas fields in the US acquired from Chesapeake Energy only 18 months ago, in February 2011.

Since then, the price of gas in the US has roughly halved, and BHP has shifted its drilling to focus on liquid rich shale fields, with the price of oil remaining much stronger than natural gas.

BHP Billiton's chief executive Marius Kloppers says he is disappointed with the write-down, but believes the assets are low cost and high quality, and will still prove their worth in the longer-term.

"Our work convinced us that this significant, low-carbon fuel source would play a meaningful role as the world makes its future energy choices," he said in a statement.


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