Shareholders in Australia’s Woodside Petroleum have approved a merger with BHP Group’s petroleum arm to create a “top 10” global independent oil and gas producer worth more than US$40 billion, according to proxy votes shown at the company’s annual general meeting on Thursday.

Woodside said 98.66% of the votes submitted were in favour of the merger, which the Perth-based company said will be completed on 1 June.

“The merger is an opportunity for Woodside to increase its contribution to the world’s growing energy needs and build the scale, resilience and diversity to thrive through the energy transition,” Woodside chief executive Meg O’Neill told shareholders.