Australian energy firm delays talks on Chinese firm’s stake in project acquisition

The head of Australian energy company Woodside Petroleum said on Thursday they had postponed negotiations to sell a stake in an oil field and liquefied natural gas project to a Chinese company several months ago, given the recent deterioration in China-Australia relations.

The company’s chief executive, Peter Coleman, was quoted by Reuters as saying he wanted to continue the commercial talks after tensions between the two countries had subsided.

The Australian quoted a Woodside spokesman as saying that potential Chinese buyers had said they were unable to participate in the asset sale process at the moment, which was one of the reasons why the company would not sell its stake in the project for the time being.

Woodside has previously held talks with a number of Chinese oil companies, including PetroChina, about selling part of its stake in the Scarborough gas field and the Broto LNG project in Western Australia.