Independent Expert Appointed to Determine Maui Field Reserves

Natural Gas Corp. will appoint an independent expert to determine the amount of remaining natural gas reserves in the Maui Field offshore New Zealand. Natural Gas, which operates natural gas transmission pipelines, told the New Zealand Stock Exchange that the way was now clear to appoint an expert to decide on Maui's reserves after all interested parties agreed on a procedure for assessing the remaining reserves. As a result of the agreement, methanol producer Methanex (NZ) Ltd., which is the biggest user of Maui natural gas, has withdrawn its legal proceedings against the field owner, Maui Development Ltd. and the New Zealand government, Natural Gas said.

Those proceedings had been due to go before the High Court in June and August. Methanex has concerns that its entitlement could be reduced. A ruling on the remaining reserves is expected four months after the expert's appointment, Natural Gas said. Under the "redetermination process", a new reserves figure for the field will be agreed and parties which have a contractual right to receive natural gas from the field could have their entitlements adjusted. The latest estimate of developed and remaining Maui reserves is 3,800 petajoules. The original Maui contract was for the field to supply 4,085 PJ between 1979 and 2009.