|Thursday, 3 June 2004|
Neil Ritchie, New Zealand
As anticipated, on the eve of spudding the offshore Takapou-1 well, Shell New Zealand has farmed out half its two Western Platform exploration interests to UK listed company Electro-Silica.
Shell NZ exploration and production (EP) commercial manager Ajit Bansal on Tuesday night announced that Shell had reached agreement with Electro-Silica plc for the purchase of 30% equity (half of Shell's 60% stake) in each of PEP 38481 and PEP 38482. All terms of the sale remain commercially confidential.
"We are pleased to see a further expansion and diversification of New Zealand's EP industry with the farm-out of half of our equity in the Western Platform to Electro-Silica," Bansal said.
"Shell's commitment to New Zealand remains strong, with our main focus now on ensuring that the Pohokura gas field is brought onstream in a timely manner, to give New Zealand some certainty of gas supply in the years ahead.
"Shell will also continue to work to ensure we extract the maximum economic potential out of the Maui filed, as it enters its last years of production," Bansal added.
After Royal Dutch Shell signalled its virtual withdrawal from New Zealand exploration late last year, departing Shell NZ chairman Lloyd Taylor said Shell would fulfill its remaining work program obligations, either doing the work itself or through farmouts.
By then it had already exited the marginal Maari oil field, south of Maui, and its West Coast South Island licence. The Western Platform farmouts now leave Shell with only its 50% stake in the offshore Taranaki licence PEP 38737 to dispose of - probably to longtime partner and 737 stablemate Todd Energy.
The Ocean Bounty semi-submersible rig is scheduled to spud the Takapou-1 wildcat well in PEP 38482 this weekend for Shell, OMV, Todd Energy and now Electro-Silica. Shell NZ says Maui-Kapuni-Pohokura operator Shell Todd Oil Services will remain PEP 38482 operator for this well, hinting at a possible change after the completion of Takapou-1.
Shell NZ said Electro-Silica already had interests in two Great South Basin blocks off the South Island.
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