Shell's 2004 Petroleum E&P Invest In Asia To Exceed $750 Mil

Shell plans to invest slightly more than US$750 million in petroleum exploration & production in the Asia-Pacific region in 2004.

"We have invested around US$750 million this year in exploration and production all across Asia. The investment will be a bit higher next year," Dominique Gardy, chief executive officer of Shell Exploration & Production Asia Pacific said Tuesday.

Most of the investment will be allocated to Australia, Brunei, New Zealand and Malaysia, he added.

Such investment will lead its sales volume surpass the 850,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day recorded in 2003, said Gardy.

The company will use its cash-flow to fund the investment, he added.

The investment in Asia will be equivalent to 10%-12% of the company's total investment worldwide for exploration and production, said Gardy.

Despite the divestment of assets in Thailand, the company expects its sales volume in 2004 will exceed the level recorded this year, said Gardy.

Shell Petroleum and Thailand's PTT Exploration & Production PCL Tuesday signed an agreement for the sale of Shell's entire stake in Thai Shell Exploration & Production Ltd. to PTTEP for $205 million.

The main assets of Thai Shell Exploration include Thailand's largest onshore oil field Block S1, Block B6/27 and Block L22/43.

The S1 field produces about 19,000 barrels a day of crude. It also produces 50 million cubic feet a day of natural gas and 300 tons a day of liquefied petroleum gas.

Payment is expected to be completed by the end of January.

"The divestment has no impact on Shell's activities in Thailand. Shell is still actively pursuing growth opportunities in the Gulf of Thailand and adjacent areas," Gardy said.

According to Gardy, Shell may return to exploration and production activities in Thailand through a partnership deal with PTTEP, providing technical support.

Shell, the world's largest supplier of liquefied natural gas, has also discussed with PTTEP the possibility of the company supplying LNG to the Thai market when demand increases to a satisfactory level, he added.