Chevron Corporation has decided to invest in Australian shale, announcing today that it has bought interest in two gas blocks in the Cooper Basin from Beach Energy.

The U.S.-based company said it will initially acquire a 30% working interest in block PEL 218 in South Australia, and 18% working interest in block ATP 855 in Queensland. The deal gives Chevron the option of later increasing its interest in PEL 218 to 60% and the interest in ATP 855 to 36%.

“The Cooper Basin is an established petroleum producing basin and provides the opportunity to leverage our expertise in tight gas,” Roy Krzywosinski, Chevron Australia managing director, said, adding that it could also add to the company’s natural gas portfolio.

Chevron is already a large player in natural gas on Australia’s west coast. The company may also be looking to partner with other gas developers on the east coast, including those developing LNG plants at Queensland state’s Gladstone port, Goldman Sachs analysts said in a note to clients Monday.

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