By Rhiannon Hoyle
SYDNEY--Losses at BHP Billiton Ltd.'s (>> BHP Billiton Limited) U.S. shale operation Petrohawk Energy Corp. this year have deepened amid continued weakness in natural-gas markets.
BHP on Thursday reported a loss from continuing operations before income tax of US$211.5 million for the nine months to Sep. 30 for Petrohawk, compared with profit of US$201.3 million in the year-earlier period.
In a statement to the stock exchange, BHP said the average price for natural gas in the nine months to the end of September had nearly halved year-on-year, contributing to the deepening losses.
Petrohawk had recorded a third-quarter loss of US$55 million, the statement added, a sharp turnaround from profit of US$127 million in the same quarter of 2011.
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