Woodside talking to Shell on what it will do with its stake

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Woodside Petroleum (WPL.AX: Quote, Profile, Research), Australia’s top oil and gas producer, is in talks with its biggest shareholder, Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research), about what it plans to do with its remaining 24 percent stake in the company, Woodside’s chief said on Monday.

Woodside was caught off-guard last November when Shell sold off one-third of its stake in the company.

“The chairman and I are working very constructively and professionally with them,” Chief Executive Don Voelte told analysts and reporters, playing down talk of bad relations between the companies.

“I can’t go too far on this, it’s early days. I’ll just say that I would hope that we’re not surprised with the other 24 percent,” he said.

“I would say we’re proactive. I think we’re doing the right things right now.”

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Ed Davies)