King & Wood Mallesons is advising PetroChina Co. Ltd. on its $1.63 billion acquisition of a stake in a Western Australia natural gas project from BHP Billiton Ltd.

PetroChina’s Australian subsidiary is purchasing an 8 percent interest in the East Browse liquefied natural gas joint venture and a 20 percent stake in the West Browse JV, allowing BHP to exit its partnership with Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Royal Dutch Shell Plc., BP Plc., and Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsui & Co.
 
The Browse project has struggled against significant opposition, according to Reuters, as project partners, environmentalists and Aboriginal landowners have spoken out against the construction of an accompanying LNG production facility. The news service notes that BHP’s exit follows that of Chevron Corp. in August.
 
The other JV members have the right to match PetroChina’s offer, according to a BHP statement. If they do not, and regulators approve the deal, the acquisition is expected to close in the first half of next year.
 
King & Wood Mallesons Hong Kong partner Joshua Cole and Perth partners David Perks, Tim Warman, and Sally Audeyev are advising PetroChina.
 
Ashurst is advising BHP Billiton on the sale.
 
Email: tbrennan@alm.com .