Shell sells Australian LNG stake for $1.1bn

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Oil giant Shell, which last week surprised the market with a shock profit warning, is selling its interests in an Australian liquefied natural gas (LNG) project for $1.1 billion (£691 million).

The group has agreed to sell its 8 per cent interest in the offshore Wheatstone-Iago joint venture, along with its 6.4 per cent stake in the Wheatstone LNG project in western Australia to the Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company.

Chief executive Ben van Beurden said: “Shell will remain a major player in Australia’s energy industry. 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.”

Van Beurden last week admitted the group’s performance was “not what I expect” as he revealed its first-quarter results are likely to show “significantly lower than recent levels of profitability”.

Shell’s underlying earnings for the period are now expected to almost halve to around $2.9bn, well below market expectations of $4bn. This is set to leave full-year results 23 per cent lower at $19.5bn.