Shell gives up stake in New Zealand natural gas field

April 6 (UPI) — Royal Dutch Shell announced Thursday it was selling off its share in one of New Zealand’s larger gas fields to its joint venture partner, Todd Energy.

For an undisclosed sum, Shell said it was transferring its assets in the Kapuni gas field to the joint venture partner. In a statement, the Dutch supermajor said the sale would “simplify” its operational structure in preparation for more potential changes to its remaining assets in the region.

“We are pleased to be selling our interest in Kapuni to our long term joint venturer Todd Energy which, as an original participant in Kapuni, has demonstrated a huge commitment to the asset, the region and to New Zealand,” Rob Jager, the country chairman for Shell, said in a statement.

Todd Energy had no statement on the sale, which puts it in the role of operator of the Kapuni field, the oldest producing gas field in New Zealand. The field was discovered in 1959, production peaked in the 1970s and by the early 1990s, British energy company BP exited a joint venture that left Shell and Todd Energy holding the remaining assets.

New Zealand pounded the gavel last month for an auction for five offshore and two onshore oil and gas basins. Energy Minister Judith Collins said interest was historically low given the downturn in the energy sector last year, but a rebound was expected as markets improve.

For Shell, the company has been on a divestment streak since its $52 billion merger with BG Group. In the fourth quarter alone, the company unloaded more than $1 billion in assets in large part from North America. In January, it sold off its interests in a package of assets in the British waters of the North Sea for $3.8 billion. (UPI)

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