Shell Farms Out Stake in Western Platform Exploration Permit

Shell New Zealand Exploration and Production (EP) Commercial Manager Ajit Bansal reports that Shell has reached agreement with Electro-Silica plc for the purchase of half of Shell's 60% equity in the exploration permits PEP 38481 and PEP38482, known as the Western Platform.

"We are pleased to see a further expansion and diversification of New Zealand's EP industry with the farm out of half of our equity in the Western Platform to Electro-Silica plc," Dr Bansal said.

The Takapou-A exploration well in PEP 38482 is scheduled for drilling during June of 2004. It is anticipated the well will commence drilling operations for STOS about the 5th June. All terms of the sale are commercially confidential. Shell Todd Oil Services will remain the operator for this well.

'Shell's commitment to New Zealand remains strong, with our main focus now on ensuring that the Pohokura gas field is brought on stream in a timely manner, to give New Zealand some certainty of gas supply in the years ahead. Shell will also continue to work to ensure we extract the maximum economic potential out of the Maui filed, as it enters its last years of production," Dr Bansal said.

The Electro Silica Group is composed of four areas of business including oil and gas exploration, under the privately owned UK based parent company called Electro Silica Plc. This will be another area offshore New Zealand in which the Electro Silica Group have interests, and joins their two other blocks near Stewart Island.

The current equity share in the Western Platform is:
Shell Energy New Zealand Ltd(60%);
OMV NZ Ltd (25%);
Todd Petroleum Mining Ltd (15%).

The sale is subject to the usual regulatory clearances as well as consents under the joint venture operating agreements.