Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image

Shell faces down Todd Petroleum over Pohokura gas field

Stuff.co.nz (New Zealand): Shell faces down Todd Petroleum over Pohokura gas field

“A legal battle between owners of the Pohokura gas field is back in the High Court today, as global energy giant Shell faces down our home-grown big shot, Todd Petroleum.”

Tuesday 12 July 2005

A legal battle between owners of the Pohokura gas field is back in the High Court today, as global energy giant Shell faces down our home-grown big shot, Todd Petroleum.

The two companies are fighting over who will operate the offshore natural gas field, which is due to start producing next year.

It is currently operated by Shell Todd Oil Services, a 50-50 joint venture that has been running oil and gas enterprises for the past 50 years.

The gas field, sited off the Taranaki coast, is owned by Shell, which has 48 per cent, and Todd and the European energy company OMV, each of whom own 26 per cent.

With an estimated 750 petajoules of gas – about half of New Zealand’s known reserves – the field is seen as crucial to the security of the country’s electricity supply. Its biggest customers, power companies Genesis and Contact, hope to use Pohokura gas to fire their stations.

Shell, as owner of the biggest share, wants to take over as operator from the joint venture, running it according to its global systems.

The legal dispute has taken two tracks, with one approach – the attempt to have Shell Todd Oil Services “resign” as operator, still before the Court of Appeal.

AdvertisementAdvertisementTodd Petroleum got a High Court injunction stopping this resignation from being put to the joint venture’s board. Shell petitioned the Court of Appeal and is waiting for a decision.

Today’s case is another way of Shell and OMV achieving the same thing – terminating the joint venture’s operation of Pohokura. Todd is asking the court for an injunction to stop this happening.

The case, in the High Court at Wellington, is set down for two days, while the parties are still waiting for the Court of Appeal decision on the earlier injunction.

While Pohokura is due to come on stream soon, another, onshore, Taranaki field, known as Cardiff is also being watched closely.

Operated by listed Austral Pacific and 40 per cent owned by Genesis, it is undergoing a series of tests.

If there is enough gas in Cardiff, Genesis plans to burn it in a new power station planned for the Kaipara Harbour in Northland.

It is not, however, the first time owners of the Pohokura field have run into difficulties.

They sought and achieved, special Commerce Commission approval in 2003 to jointly market the gas. Opponents said this was unfair as it would be anti-competitive and make gas more expensive.

The three field owners were able to convince the commission that unless they were allowed to market the gas together, development of the field would be delayed, threatening New Zealand’s energy supply.

They decided to go ahead and sell the gas separately anyway.

Central to the case was the claim that selling the gas separately would mean a delay of one year – until February 2007 – in bringing it into production.

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

0 Comments on “Shell faces down Todd Petroleum over Pohokura gas field”

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: