Australian mining company BHP has confirmed that it is in talks with Woodside Petroleum to sell its petroleum business.

The confirmation came a few weeks after reports emerged that the miner is planning to offload its oil and gas operations to transition towards a low-carbon future.

Commenting on the recent media speculation, BHP in a statement said: “BHP confirms that we have initiated a strategic review of our Petroleum business to re-assess its position and long-term strategic fit in the BHP portfolio. A number of options are being evaluated.”

According to BHP, the move is part of its strategy to maximise long-term shareholder value.

Quoted an undisclosed source, Bloomberg News reported that BHP could fetch at least $15bn with the sale of oil and gas assets.

BHP holds petroleum assets in Australia, the Gulf of Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, and Algeria.

The review of the petroleum business follows mounting investor pressure on the company to reduce its carbon footprint.

One of the options being considered by the two parties includes a potential merger of BHP’s petroleum business with Woodside Petroleum and Woodside shares distribution to BHP shareholders.

Woodside said in a press statement: “These discussions are ongoing. Woodside will continue to update the market in accordance with its continuous disclosure obligations.”

The potential acquisition would boost Woodside’s annual production to 200 million barrels of oil equivalent, reported Reuters.

It is also expected to nearly double the firm’s annual underlying earnings to around $8bn.