The Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) share price is on course to end the week with a decline.
In afternoon trade, the energy producer’s shares are down 4% to $28.75.
Why is the Woodside share price sliding on Friday?
There appears to have been a couple of catalysts for the weakness in the Woodside share price on Friday.
One is a slight pullback in oil prices during Asian trade. This has seen the WTI crude oil price fall 1.2% to US$110.85 a barrel and the Brent crude oil price fall 0.6% to US$111.35 a barrel.
BHP-Woodside petroleum merger
Following the receipt of shareholder approval, BHP and Woodside look set to merge their petroleum assets on 1 June.
This will see Woodside issue 914,768,948 to BHP as part of the merger process. These shares will then be distributed to eligible BHP shareholders via an in specie dividend. They will receive one new Woodside share for every 5.534 BHP shares they hold.
It is possible that some of the weakness in the Woodside share price today could be due to selling from investors that already hold shares in both companies. Given that these investors now know the amount of Woodside shares they will receive when the merger completes, they could be trimming their existing holding in Woodside to balance their portfolio.
Woodside name change
A final thing to note, is that as part of the merger process, Woodside will soon be having a slight name and ticket code change.
From Wednesday 25 May, the company will go from being Woodside Petroleum Ltd with the WPL ticker code, to Woodside Energy Group Ltd with the WDS ticker code.