Shell New Zealand Exploration and Production Commercial Manager Ajit Bansal said taking FID signaled the formal start of the development of the Pohokura field.
"It is now all systems go for Pohokura. With the taking of FID today, the Joint Venture has instructed the operator, Shell Todd Oil Services (STOS) to lodge a Mining Permit with Crown Minerals.
"Today's announcement follows the sale of the first tranche of gas in Pohokura by Shell, and our Joint Venture partners, and those sales, along with today's FID, now underpin the development."
Dr Bansal said Shell was still anticipating first gas to flow from Pohokura in mid 2006.
"We are confident that the project is on track to deliver first gas in mid 2006. Given New Zealand's critical need for more gas, Shell is very aware that Pohokura needs to be up and running in a timely manner.
"Today sees the start of a project that will prove to be every bit as vital to the future energy supply of this country, as Maui was when it commenced production 25 years ago.
"This is a significant day for Shell in New Zealand. With the recent agreement which will see more gas extracted from the Maui field, and now final confirmation that Pohokura will become a reality, Shell is proud of the continuing part we are playing in securing New Zealand's energy future," Dr Bansal said.
The three Pohokura Joint Venture Partners are Shell New Zealand, OMV New Zealand and Todd Pohokura Ltd. Shell owns 48% of the shares in the Pohokura field. OMV New Zealand and Todd Pohokura Ltd own 26% each. The Pohokura field is being developed on behalf of the Joint Venture by Shell Todd Oil Services. The Pohokura field was discovered in early 2000.
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