A subsidiary of Austria's OMV AG has received clearance to acquire Royal Dutch Shell PLC's oil, natural gas and liquids portfolio in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Commerce Commission has approved OMV New Zealand Ltd's bid to buy 100% of the Anglo-Dutch oil major's shares in Shell Exploration NZ Ltd, Energy Infrastructure Ltd, Shell Taranaki Ltd and Shell New Zealand (2011) Ltd.
The deal, which includes Shell's interest in the Maui and Pohokura gas field joint ventures with Todd Energy Ltd., as well as a number of onshore infrastructure assets, is valued at US$578 million, and is expected to close sometime during the fourth quarter.
The sale is part of Shell's plan to simplify its upstream portfolio by divesting assets worth US$30 billion by the end of this year.
OMV already has stakes in the Maui and Pohokura fields, the Maari oil field, limited onshore infrastructure assets related to the transportation and storage of gas and liquids, and offshore exploration permits.
In considering the acquisition, the New Zealand Commerce Commission concluded that the deal would not adversely impact competition in the natural gas market.
"OMV and Shell only compete to supply natural gas from the Pohokura gas field, as all production from the Maui field, including LPG, is jointly sold," Commerce Commission Deputy Chair Sue Begg said in an Aug. 10 news release.
The commission also concluded the acquisition would not affect competitive access to onshore assets, including pipelines and tanks.