PERTH, Australia, June 17 (UPI) -- Shell said Tuesday it views Australia as a vital part of global energy market despite unloading its shares in Australian energy company Woodside Petroleum.
Royal Dutch Shell announced it made around $5 billion in the sale of its 156 million shares in Woodside. Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said it was part of an effort to focus on the company's own assets in Australia.
"It doesn't change our view of Australia as an important player on the global energy stage, or Shell's central role in the country's energy industry," he said in a statement.
Shell holds a 25 percent stake in the Gorgon liquefied natural gas project and a 67.5 percent stake in the Prelude floating LNG project in Australia.
Woodside CEO Peter Coleman said deal gives his company an opportunity to grow on its own.
"It allows us to optimize the company's near-term capital structure, while maintaining the capacity to continue to develop existing projects and make additional investments in new growth opportunities," he said in a separate statement.