BHP Group and Woodside Petroleum Ltd signed a binding share sale agreement on Monday for the merger of BHP’s oil and gas portfolio with Woodside. Woodside will acquire the entire share capital of BHP Petroleum International Pty Ltd in exchange for new Woodside shares.
The signing of the SSA follows the merger commitment announced in August worth A$38.5 billion ($28 billion) with growth assets in Australia and the Americas.
On completion, the merger will create a global top 10 independent energy company by production and the largest energy company listed on the ASX, and the combined company will have a high margin oil portfolio, long life LNG assets and the financial resilience to help supply the energy needed for global growth and development over the energy transition, BHP said.
“Merging our petroleum business with Woodside creates a large, more resilient company, better able to navigate the energy transition and grow value while doing so,” CEO Mike Henry said in the media release. “Through the merger we will provide value and choice for BHP shareholders, and unlock synergies in how these assets are managed.”
However, analysts have said that if BHP shareholders end up with Woodside shares, some would look to sell them on concerns about holding a pure fossil fuel investment.
The merger also follows environmental campaign group Market Forces’ proposal on behalf of about 100 small investors calling on BHP to reduce oil, gas and coal production in line with international targets.