BHP Billiton expects to recognise an impairment charge of approximately US$2 billion post-tax (or approximately US$2.8 billion pre-tax) against the carrying value of its Onshore US assets as an exceptional item in the 2015 financial year results.
The gas focused Hawkville field accounts for the substantial majority of this charge reflecting its geological complexity, product mix, acreage relinquishments and amended development plans. The remainder relates to the impairment of goodwill associated with the Petrohawk acquisition.
Following this impairment, the Group's Onshore US business will have net operating assets of approximately US$24 billion1. The value of this business is supported by ongoing cost reductions and improving well performance which help offset increased commodity price volatility and lower near term capital expenditure. Consistently positive results from the appraisal and development of the Permian have also unlocked significant value and we now see the ultimate potential of this field at over 150 kboe/d (up from our previous estimate of 100 kboe/d).