Shell has sold about a third of its stake in Australian oil and gas company Woodside Petroleum for about $3.3bn.

The company signed an underwriting agreement with UBS for the sale of 78.34 million shares in Woodside, representing 29.18% of its interest in Woodside and 10% of the issued capital in the company.

As part of this transaction, Shell has committed to retain its remaining 24.27% interest in Woodside for a minimum of one year, unless there is a bona fide takeover offer for the Australian oil and gas producer.

Shell CEO Peter Voser said that with Shell’s recent portfolio progress in Australia and its world-wide push to improve its capital efficiency, it will increasingly focus its investment in Australia through direct interests in assets and joint ventures, rather than indirect stakes.

"We will manage our remaining position in Woodside over time in the context of our global portfolio," Voser said.