Royal Dutch Shell is selling nearly two-thirds of its stake in Woodside Petroleum, the largest independent energy group in Australia, for $1.7bn (£840m).
The energy giant said in a statement today that its Shell Energy Holdings Australia Limited (SEHAL) had entered into a deal with two investment banks to sell 71.6m Woodside shares for £18.2 each.
The sale represents 64 per cent of Shell’s stake in Woodside and 8.5 per cent of Woodside’s issued capital, Shell said.
When the sale is completed, SEHAL will own a 4.8 per cent interest in Woodside. Shell has been selling out of Woodside for some time.
In November 2010, Shell sold 10 percent of the issued capital of Woodside, bringing its stake down to 24.27 percent.
Shell said today that proceeds from its sale of Woodside shares will be used to reduce the group’s net debt.
The deal comes as the Anglo-Dutch energy company pushes on with a $30bn divestment drive.
The sale of assets is aimed to simplify Shell’s upstream portfolio following the acquisition of BG Group for $70bn.
At the beginning of this month, Shell tied up the sale of a North Sea assets package to Chrysaor for up to $3.8bn. As part of the sale, which was first announced at the end of January, 253 Shell staff will move to Chrysaor.
However, not all of Shell’s divestment plans have gone smoothly.
In January, the firm announced plans of sell its stake in the Bongkot gas field in Thailand for $900m to Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company, but the deal folded after negotiations with Bangkok took too long.