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MELBOURNE: Mining giant BHP annoced Tuesday it will merge its oil and gas assets with Australia’s Woodside, in a multibillion-dollar deal that sees BHP exit the liquid fossil fuel business.

The Anglo-Australian firm said the agreement would see Woodside issue new shares to BHP shareholders as it becomes a global top 10 LNG producer.

Woodside’s existing shareholders would retain a 52 percent stake in the newly expanded Woodside, while BHP shareholders would own 48 percent.

“Bringing the BHP and Woodside assets together will provide choice for BHP shareholders, lock synergies in how these assets are managed and allow capital to be deployed to the highest quality opportities,” BHP chief executive Mike Henry said.

“The merger will also enable the skills, talent and technology of both organisations to build a resilient future as the world’s needs evolve.”

BHP’s petroleum business is worth US$15.4 billion, the company said, with oil and gas assets in the Gulf of Mexico, Australia, Trinidad and Tobago.

The deal remains subject to approval from investors and regulators.

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