Asia Pulse: NO TALKS ON SHELL STAKE IN AUSTRALIA'S WOODSIDE: MINISTER: “Energy Minister Ian Macfarlane Thursday said he was not aware of any approaches by a foreign party to buy Royal Dutch/Shell's stake in oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum Ltd” (ShellNews.net) 14 Jan 05
Asia Pulse; Jan 14, 2005
PERTH, Jan 14 Asia Pulse - Energy Minister Ian Macfarlane Thursday said he was not aware of any approaches by a foreign party to buy Royal Dutch/Shell's stake in oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum Ltd (ASX:WPL).
Woodside shares surged to a record high in November on talk that Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation Ltd (CNOOC) was looking to do a deal for Shell's 34 per cent stake in the company.
Any acquisition of more than a 15 per cent interest would require approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) and the federal treasurer.
But Mr Macfarlane said no approaches had been made by any party that might be interested in the stake.
"I haven't seen anything," he said.
"As far as I'm concerned that's all just speculation."
Analysts have said the treasurer may not allow Woodside to be acquired by a foreign bidder after he rejected a takeover of the company by Shell in 2000.
Mr Macfarlane would not comment on whether the government has changed its position.
"There is no point in speculating on what the response would be way before you even have a proposal," he said.
CNOOC last month formed a new joint venture with the Woodside-operated North West Shelf joint venture to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the Guangdong LNG project in China under a $A25 billion ($US19.13 billion) sales and purchase contract.
It is also understood to be talking to ChevronTexaco Corp, Shell and ExxonMobil Corp about participating in their Gorgon gas development off the Western Australian coast.
Mr Macfarlane made his comments Thursday ahead of a trip to Mexico and California, where he will promote Australian natural gas in the energy hungry US west coast market, as well as bilateral trade.
He will return via Korea if the Gorgon joint venture wins a contract to supply part of the 5.3 million tonnes a year of LNG sought by Korea Gas Corp.
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