Five billion dollar loss expected at BHP Billiton after shale gas misplays

Sunday Times (paywall) reports that collapsing natural gas prices will probably cost mining giant BHP Billiton upwards of $5 billion in writedowns.

"On the back of six months of bad prices they are not likely to cut [the valuation] in half," said Liberum Capital's Richard Knight in an interview with Sunday Times.

"A 25% reduction—$5 billion—is probably towards the top end."

BHP Billiton's CEO, Marius Kloppers paid $17 billion last year to acquire Petrohawk Energy from Chesapeake Energy.

Since the start of the year, natural gas prices have halved, plummeting to $1.47 a gigajoule. It was only a decade ago natural gas reached $13.84 GJ.

Natural gas prices are expected to average around $2.30 and $2.75 this year and recover slowly next year.

(Hat tip, Fox News)

Image of Marius Kloppers from