OMV to buy Shell’s New Zealand business for $578 million

Māui A platform; Image: Shell

Austrian oil and gas company OMV has agreed to acquire Shell’s Upstream business in New Zealand for $578 million.

This includes Shell’s joint venture interests in Pohokura (48%), the largest gas producing field in New Zealand, and Maui (83.75%), as well as related infrastructure for production, storage and transportation.

OMV is an existing partner in the acquired assets and intends to assume operatorship in both joint ventures. OMV’s current stakes are 26% in Pohokura and 10% in Maui.

OMV said on Thursday that the purchase price is $578 million and it is subject to customary adjustments. The transaction is likely to be completed in 2018. It is subject to conditions, including New Zealand Commerce Act and Overseas Investment approvals.

The economic effective date of the transaction is January 1, 2018. Average production of the acquired assets in the first two months of 2018 was around 31,000 boe/d.

The Māui field, located 35 kilometers off the Taranaki coast, was discovered in 1969. It was one of the largest offshore gas fields in the world at the time.

The Māui A platform was installed in 1977, with full production beginning in 1979. Māui B was built in 1992 and is situated 15 kilometres from Māui A, with the two platforms connected via an undersea pipeline through which product is transported. Māui B is designed to be unmanned, being remotely operated from Māui A.

The Pohokura field came on stream in 2006 as a high-tech facility meeting 40% of the country’s natural gas needs. Pohokura’s eight wells and production station are run by a single control room operator, supported by a team of around 50 staff, in central New Plymouth, 20 kilometers away from the field.

Rainer Seele, Chairman of the OMV Executive Board and CEO: “This acquisition is an important step to develop Australasia into a core region in line with our new strategy.”

Johann Pleininger, OMV Board Member Upstream and Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board: “This acquisition builds on our operatorship capabilities in New Zealand, adds up to 100 mn boe of recoverable resources and improves the quality of our Upstream portfolio.”

In parallel to the acquisition of the interests in Pohokura and Maui, OMV has also acquired Shell’s 60.98 % interest in the Great South Basin exploration block (GSB). The transfer of GSB is immediately effective and increased OMV’s stake in GSB to 82.93%.