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woodsMELBOURNE: Woodside Petroleum said it was considering selling a small stake in the huge Browse liquefied natural gas project in Australia, after receiving approaches from several firms.

"In response to significant interest from a number of parties, Woodside is conducting a limited process to assess the potential sale of a minority portion of the company's equity in the development," the company said in a statement ot the stock exchange.

The company put out the statement after The Australian reported that had launched a A$1 billion-plus auction of most of its stake in the Browse project.

A sale would help extract early value from the delayed project, which analysts have estimated could cost around A$30 billion ($32 billion).

Woodside owns 50 percent of Browse and is operator of the development. It plans to continue as operator. Its partners are BP, Chevron, BHP Billiton and Royal Dutch Shell.

Woodside warned investors in December it might need to delay a final investment decision on the project by nearly a year to the first half of 2013, as the partners sort out a long-running dispute over the best location for processing Browse gas.

Woodside shares rose 1.2 percent to A$34.39, outperforming a 0.8 percent rise in the broader market and falls in other energy company's shares.

Copyright Reuters, 2012


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