Shell and Blackstone's offer will only be one of several credible proposals that the world’s biggest miner will receive for the operations, Sky News said on Thursday, citing banking sources.
READ: BHP Billiton posts 25% jump in underlying half-year profit, as metal prices rise, but misses consensus
The FTSE 100-listed firm’s acreage is located adjacent to assets controlled by Shell and Russia’s Anadarko Petroleum Corp in the Permian Basin of west Texas and New Mexico.
BHP Billiton put the shale business – which is on its books at US$14bn -- up for sale last year and said with results last month, that initial bids are expected in the June quarter.
The disposal move was one of the strategic changes urged last year by US activist investor Elliott Management which has a 5% holding in BHP Billiton.
Earlier this week, Devon Energy sold some of its shale-gas assets in Texas for US$553mln to what energy analysts identified as a private equity firm, although Devon did not disclose the name of the buyer.
In London, BHP Billiton shares were 0.7% higher at 1,413.8p, while Shell A shares were down 0.8% at 2,247.5p, and in pre-market New York trading, Blackstone shares edged up 0.1% to US$33.45.
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