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(Image courtesy of Woodside)

Shell said in November it may sell its 23 percent holding in Woodside Petroleum, as early as 2014.

China’s Cnooc  Ltd. and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. could try to buy Shell’s stake or try for a full takeover, according to Morningstar Inc.

“Woodside, which has a market value of $28 billion, offers buyers six of Australia’s seven LNG processing plants as China-led demand for liquefied natural gas is forecast to almost double worldwide by 2030. Government opposition to a foreign takeover may have eased since Shell was blocked in 2001, said E.I.M. Capital Managers Pty. The company also is more affordable after its multiple to cash flow more than halved since 2011,” according to Bloomberg.

Woodside would be “very interesting” to Cnooc, China’s biggest offshore oil and gas producer, and China Petroleum & Chemical, better known as Sinopec,  Mark Taylor, an analyst at Morningstar in Sydney, told Bloomberg.

According to Taylor, the Australian government isn’t likely to block an acquisition by either of the China companies.

Shell might still try to sell its Woodside shares to institutional investors or back to Woodside itself, Vincent Pisani, a Melbourne-based analyst at Shaw Stockbroking Ltd., told Bloomberg.