(Image: Private Media/Mitchell Squire)

While the willingness of the world's largest extractive companies and biggest investors to exit fossil fuels has been seen as a positive sign for decarbonisation, the assets left behind -- while likely to eventually become stranded -- are toxic enough to still poison the politics of corrupt countries like Australia.

Take BHP's enthusiasm for getting out of thermal coal, gas, and oil, which are increasingly a turn-off for investors and prone to generating headlines by activists shareholders pushing for the company to dump both fossil fuels and any involvement with lobby groups like the Minerals Council, which spruik them.

The Australian Financial Review reported this morning that the latest deal could see BHP flog all its petroleum assets to Woodside, including its current North West Shelf joint venture with Woodside. The mooted cost of the deal -- $20 billion -- isn't much less than Woodside's current $21.4 billion market capitalisation.