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Sydney β€” Shell has put its upstream holdings in New Zealand, which account for a significant chunk of the nation's oil and gas production, up for sale.

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"These assets are profitable, well maintained and are an important part of New Zealand's energy mix," Shell New Zealand Chairman Rob Jager said in a statement Thursday.

"The Shell business in New Zealand is great, but a small part of the global Shell business and hence the decision to undertake a strategic review at this time."

Shell is streamlining its global portfolio given the current low oil price environment.



"Shell is focusing on large growth opportunities, with deepwater and integrated gas as growth priorities," the company added.

Jager said the company was conscious of the uncertainty the review would create for staff and was committed to moving quickly through the process.

Shell holds 83.75% of the major Maui gas and condensate field in the North Island's Taranaki Basin, which has been producing since 1979.

It also owns 50% of Kapuni, the country's oldest gas and condensate field, and a 48% operating stake in the Pohokura gas field, which now meets around 40% of the nation's needs.

In addition, Shell owns 50% of Shell Todd Oil Services, operator of the Maui and Kapuni fields.

Overall, Shell's operating ventures produce around 80% of New Zealand's total natural gas production on behalf of the company and its partners.

According to figures from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, New Zealand produced 4.06 million barrels of crude and 58.6 petajoules of gas in the quarter ended September 30, 2015.

Shell also holds a 50% operating stake in exploration block PEP 50119 in the frontier Great South Basin, off New Zealand's South Island.

Shell and its joint venture partners OMV New Zealand and Mitsui E&P Australia are currently planning to drill a well in the block.

Shell sold its oil refining and marketing interests in New Zealand in 2011.

The company has also been paring back its operations in Australia, where it sold its downstream business to Vitol's Viva Energy and its stake in the Wheatstone LNG project to Kufpec in 2014.

--Christine Forster, christine.forster@platts.com
--Edited by E Shailaja Nair, shailaja.nair@platts.com