Part of Shell’s Woodside Interest Up for Sale for $1.7bn

Royal Dutch Shell is selling almost two-thirds of its stake in Woodside Petroleum, Australia’s biggest independent energy group, for $1.7bn (£840m).

In a statement, the energy giant stated that its Shell Energy Holdings Australia Limited (SEHAL) had entered into a deal with two investment banks in order to sell 71.6m Woodside shares for £18.2 each.

Shell said that the sale represents 64 percent of the stake of Shell in Woodside and 8.5 percent of the issued capital of Woodside.

Upon the completion of the sale, SEHAL will own a 4.8 percent interest in Woodside. Shell has been selling out of Woodside for quite some time.

In November 2010, Shell was able to sell 10 percent of the issued capital of Woodside, bringing the company’s stake down to 24.27 percent.

Shell stated that proceeds from its sale of Woodside shares will be utilised to lessen the net debt of the group.

The deal arrives as the Anglo-Dutch energy company pushes on with a divestment drive amounting to $30bn.

The sale of assets is intended to simplify the upstream portfolio of Shell following the acquisition of BG Group that amounted to $70bn.

At the start of this month, Shell tied up the sale of Chrysaor, a North Sea assets package, for up to $3.8bn. As part of the said sale, which was first revealed at the end of January, 253 Shell staff will relocate to Chrysaor.

However, not all of the divestment plans of Shell have gone smoothly.

In January, the firm revealed plans of selling its stake in the Bongkot gas field that is located in Thailand for $900m to Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company. However, the deal did not push through after negotiations with Bangkok took too long.