Maui Gas Deal Improves New Zealand Energy Security

The Crown has reached an agreement with other parties to the Maui gas contracts that will ensure gas reserves from the Maui field are maximized, New Zealand Energy Minister Pete Hodgson said.

"This is a welcome result that will improve New Zealand's energy security by reducing the uncertainties that have shrouded Maui gas supply in recent times," Mr. Hodgson said.

Negotiations have been under way since early last year between Shell NZ, Todd Energy and OMV NZ (the Maui Mining Companies or MMCs), the Crown and downstream gas users Contact Energy, NGC and Methanex.

This week the parties executed variations to the various Maui gas contracts.

Under the agreed arrangements, the gas reserves to be delivered at the Maui price are guaranteed by the MMCs at 367 petajoules (PJ), the amount identified by an independent expert as recoverable from the field at the Maui contract price.

The arrangements will enable the MMCs to develop further reserves in the Maui field, which will be sold at market price. Of the further reserves, 40 PJ of gas will be reserved for Methanex New Zealand. Contact Energy and NGC will have a right of first refusal over other additional gas.

"These arrangements are designed to provide the appropriate conditions for recovery of gas reserves from the Maui field to be maximized," Mr. Hodgson said. "That will facilitate security of supply for both gas and electricity."

The agreement also provides certainty for the Crown, NGC and Methanex over their pre-paid gas entitlements.

"This agreement is the result of months of complex negotiation and I want to acknowledge the effort made by all parties to reach a commercial agreement that also serves energy security objectives," said Mr. Hodgson.