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New Zealand Herald: Gasfield row erupts into Appeal Court

New Zealand Herald: Gasfield row erupts into Appeal Court

Chris Daniels

May 03, 2005

A dispute between owners of New Zealand’s biggest gas prospect has erupted into Court of Appeal litigation.

The offshore Pohokura field is owned by Shell (48 per cent), OMV (26 per cent) and local energy company Todd.

Todd and Shell have fallen out over their joint-venture company, Shell Todd Oil Services (STOS), which is the field’s operator.

Pohokura has an estimated 750 petajoules of gas – about half of New Zealandýs known gas reserves – with Shell owning 48 per cent, and OMV and Todd each owning 26 per cent.

It is seen as crucial to security of electricity supply to New Zealand, with its biggest customers, power companies Genesis and Contact, hoping to use Pohokura gas to fire their power stations.

Shell is trying to take over operation of the field, with STOS “resigning” from the job. Todd obtained a High Court injunction last week stopping resolutions putting this into effect being put to the STOS board.

An appeal against this injunction has been lodged by Shell, which is waiting for a Court of Appeal date to be set.

Shell spokesman Simon King said the company was “determined to see Pohokura come on stream within the already advised time of mid-2006”. Despite this assurance the dispute will raise fears of production delay at Pohokura.

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