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OMV unit looking to buy Shell's New Zealand oil and gas portfolio

A subsidiary of Austria's OMV AG, OMV New Zealand Ltd., filed a clearance application to acquire 100% of Royal Dutch Shell PLC's oil, natural gas and liquids assets in New Zealand.

The deal includes Shell's interests in the Maui and Pohokura gas fields, as well as a number of onshore infrastructure assets, according to a June 18 news release from the New Zealand Commerce Commission, which must grant its approval. The Anglo-Dutch company's activities in the country include the production and sale of oil, natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas.

The deal, which is valued at US$578 million, is expected to close sometime during the fourth quarter.

While capital discipline should help boost Shell's free cash flow, an integral part of the company's strategy to generate cash lies in its ongoing global asset sales. This deal is in line with Shell's plan to simplify its upstream portfolio and the company now steps closer to divesting assets worth a total of US$30 billion by the end of this year.

OMV also has stakes in the Maui and Pohokura gas fields, the Maari oil field, limited onshore infrastructure assets related to the transportation and storage of gas and liquids, and offshore exploration permits.