AFP
Last updated: 20 January, 2014

Shell to sell Australian energy interests to Kuwaiti state company

Energy giant Royal Dutch Shell announced on Monday the sale of stakes in Australian natural gas assets for more than one billion US dollars to a Kuwaiti state company.

Shell said it had agreed to sell its 8.0-percent equity interest in the Wheatstone-Iago gas field and 6.4-percent interest in the Wheatstone liquefied natural gas project for $1.135 billion (837 million euros) to the Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company.

Despite the sales, “Shell will remain a major player in Australia’s energy industry”, Shell’s new chief executive officer Ben van Beurden said in a statement.

“However, we are refocusing our investment to where we can add the most value with Shell’s capital and technology. We are making hard choices in our world-wide portfolio to improve Shell’s capital efficiency,” he added.

The announcement comes just a few days after the Anglo-Dutch group issued a profits warning.

The London-listed company had warned on Friday that its fourth-quarter earnings were set to be “significantly lower than recent levels of profitability”.

Profit on a current cost of supplies (CCS) basis — which strips out changes to the value of oil and gas inventories — was set to plunge 70 percent to about $2.2 billion in the three months to December compared with the fourth quarter of 2012, Shell had said.

The news marked a downbeat start for Beurden — the Dutch national who replaced Peter Voser on January 1.