Yahoo! Business News: Woodside says Shell stake may become less relevant: “Speculation over the future of Shell's stake in Perth-based Woodside intensified earlier this month on the back of an analyst report stating Australia's biggest independent oil and gas producer would be attractive for Shell because of its reserves and production growth potential.” (ShellNews.net) 19 April 05
Tuesday April 19, 2005
MELBOURNE, April 19 (Reuters) - Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (ASX: WPL.ax) said its relationship with 34 percent stake holder Royal Dutch/Shell RD.ASSHEL.L was good but might become less important as the company continues to grow.
Speculation over the future of Shell's stake in Perth-based Woodside intensified earlier this month on the back of an analyst report stating Australia's biggest independent oil and gas producer would be attractive for Shell because of its reserves and production growth potential.
"It's a good relationship, it's always been a good relationship," Woodside chairman Charles Goode told the company's annual meeting on Tuesday.
"It has been very important for this company's development ... as it grows, it may be less important," he said.
Woodside has a market capitalisation of around A$16.3 billion ($12.5 billion).
Goode said Woodside could invest more than A$4 billion over the next four years, leading to output of more than 100 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) a year.
Woodside, whose key operations are in Australia, West Africa and the United States Gulf of Mexico, produced 56.2 million boe last year.
The government blocked Shell's previous takeover attempt of Woodside in 2001 on national interest grounds.
Concern centred on the A$14 billion Woodside-operated North West Shelf liquefied natural gas (LNG) operation, which competes with Shell's other LNG projects.
Speculation also surfaced late last year that China's No. 3 oil company CNOOC Ltd. 0883.HKCEO.N was looking at Shell's stake, sending Woodside shares to record levels.
Woodside shares were trading up 3.39 percent at A$24.46 in mid-afternoon trade in a stronger overall market.
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