China buys up BHP stakes in Australia


China yesterday stepped up its worldwide hunt for gas to keep its 1.3 billion population warm.

PetroChina, the Hong Kong-listed arm of state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation, paid London-listed mining giant BHP Billiton $1.63bn (£1.01bn) for stakes in two Australian projects, making this PetroChina's biggest investment Down Under for two years.

Billiton wanted to quit its minority shareholdings of 8 per cent and 20 per cent because development costs were rising.