Royal Dutch Shell Sells NZ Pipeline to Australia's First State Investments


WELLINGTON, Dec 22 (Reuters) - The Maui Mining Companies, majority owned by energy giant Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), said Tuesday it would sell the Maui natural gas pipeline to infrastructure funds managed by First State Investments for NZ$335 million ($226.49 million).

The Maui natural gas pipeline transports around 78 percent of all natural gas produced in New Zealand and has been operating for more than 35 years. First State Investments is an Australian based global infrastructure asset manager.

The sale is conditional on certain regulatory approvals being obtained by First State Investments but the parties hope to finalise the transaction by the middle of 2016, Shell New Zealand said in a statement.

Earlier this month the energy giant announced it was reviewing its business interests in New Zealand as the company seeks to streamline its global portfolio amid a slump in energy prices.

The Anglo Dutch firm is focusing on large growth opportunities, with deep water and integrated gas as priorities, after announcing plans to raise $50 billion (33 billion pounds) from asset sales between 2014 and 2018 while cutting jobs and costs.

On Tuesday it underscored that the future of the pipeline has been under consideration for a long time and is separate from the recently announced review of the Shell New Zealand business.

Shell holds a 83.75 stake in the pipeline, OMV NZ, a unit of Austria's OMV has a 10 percent stake while privately owned Todd Corp's Todd Energy holds 6.25 percent.

Shell has been in New Zealand for more than 100 years and is the country's largest gas producer, with stakes in the Maui, Kapuni and Pohokura fields in Taranaki and a deepwater exploration licence in the Great South Basin.

($1 = 1.4791 New Zealand dollars) (Reporting by Rebecca Howard)


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