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Shell sells Woodside stake for 3.3b dollars

LONDON, Nov 8 – Royal Dutch Shell said on Monday that it had agreed to sell nearly a third of its stake in Australia\’s Woodside Petroleum for 3.3 billion US dollars (2.4 billion euros).

"Royal Dutch Shell announces an agreement to sell part of its stake in Woodside Petroleum Limited to equity investors," the Anglo-Dutch group said in a statement.

Shell is selling 78.34 million shares in Australia\’s second-biggest oil and gas producer, priced at 42.23 Australian dollars (42.7 US dollars) a share.

The sale forms part of Shell\’s strategy to raise seven billion to eight billion US dollars in 2010 and 2011 by selling non-core activities.

Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Peter Voser said that downsizing the group\’s stake in Woodside made sense as the group would "increasingly focus" investment in Australia through direct interests in assets and joint ventures.

"We will manage our remaining position in Woodside over time in the context of our global portfolio," he added.

Shell also said on Monday that it planned to be "a leading investor" in liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects across Australia "for years to come".

LNG is produced by cooling natural gas into liquid form so that it can be stored and transported easily. It is popular partly because it is more clean-burning than other fossil resources.

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