News Wrap

IN TODAY'S News Wrap: British worker killed on Brazilian offshore rig; BP, Shell considers multi-billion Australian refinery and petroleum station sales; and Woodside-linked Leviathan venture eyes gas export pipeline to Jordan.

Brazilian rig death

Brazilian union Sindipetro NF has revealed that a 36-year-old British worker died in an accident during elevator maintenance for Sevan Drilling's SS-86 rig on Monday.

"The circumstances of the accident are not yet known, but a committee will be appointed to investigate the facts," the union stated yesterday according to a Portuguese translation.

The rig was drilling the 8-JUB-46D-ESS well for Petrobras.

Majors to exit Australian downstream and retail scenes

Royal Dutch Shell and BP are separately considering $A3 billion sales of refinery and petroleum station assets, based on sources, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Shell has reportedly started preliminary negotiations with a larger private equity firm and a consortium that includes investment bank Macquarie for selling 900 petrol stations and its Geelong oil refinery.

The newspaper claimed that BP was also examining a $3 billion sale of its Queensland and Western Australian petrol stations and refineries, with the major reportedly owning 225 stations of the 1400 it supplies.

Ageing infrastructure and associated expenses, the high Australian dollar and fierce competition in the petrol retail market are expected to be factors at play, while majors already had asset selling campaigns underway last year.

Leviathan eyes pipeline opportunities instead of LNG

Following the recent $US1.2 billion ($A1.35 billion) deal to supply nearby Palestine Power Generation Company, the Noble Energy-led Leviathan project aims to build a pipeline to export the Israeli offshore gas to Jordan, Bloomberg reports.

Two undisclosed sources reportedly said the new pipeline would start at Sdom and be an extension to an existing link that supplied gas to Dead Sea Works Ltd's chemical plant there.

Noble CEO Charles Davidson signalled in November that neighbouring gas markets would be targeted over east Asian LNG markets.

Woodside has still not closed the non-binding deal it struck more than a year ago [December 2012] to buy a 30% project stake in the project.