Oil and gas giant Shell sells its NZ interests to Austrian company, OMV, for US$578 million

Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to sell all of its New Zealand interests to the Austrian company, OMV, for US$578 million (NZ$794 million).

The agreement includes the sale of the 48% stake Shell has in Pohokura - New Zealand’s largest gas field - as well as the 84% stake it has in Māui.  

When it was discovered in 1969, Māui was one of the world’s largest offshore gas fields. It is now in its twilight years, so the focus has been on looking at ways to extend its life.

OMV already has a 10% stake in Māui and a 26% stake in Pohokura. The remaining parts of the fields are owned by Todd.  

Together Māui and Pohokura (both in/off the coast of Taranaki) produce about 70% of New Zealand's gas needs, and a substantial amount of condensate (light oil).

The Tank Farms Shell owns in Taranaki are also part of the sale agreement, as is the 61% interest it has in an exploration block in the Great South Basin. The transfer of this is effective immediately, and will increase OMV’s stake in the block to 83%. Shell estimates this drilling commitment is worth US$50 million.

The sale agreement follows a two-year strategic review of Shell’s interests in New Zealand and the sale of Shell’s interest in Kapuni in 2017.

It is in line with the Group’s strategy to divest US$30 billion of assets by the end 2018.

In 2010, Shell sold its New Zealand network of petrol stations, commercial, aviation, marine, bitumen and chemical businesses, and a distribution network, to Infratil Limited and the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation. This company now operates as Z Energy Limited.

The sale announced on Friday is subject regulatory approval, including from the Overseas Investment Office and Commerce Commission. It is expected to complete by the fourth quarter of the year.

As part of the deal, the employees of Shell Taranaki Limited and Shell New Zealand will become part of OMV New Zealand.

“I want to emphasise that the business will continue to be run as it is now, until the deal is complete” says the Country Chair of Shell Companies in New Zealand, Rob Jager.

The Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand says the sale marks the end of an era for Shell.

As for OMV, its decision to expand its operations demonstrates a vote of confidence in New Zealand.

The Association notes OMV has operated in New Zealand since 1999, and has paid more than NZ$1 billion in taxes and royalties over the last 10 years.

Shell’s Integrated Gas & New Energies Director, Maarten Wetselaar, says: “Today’s announcement is another step towards reshaping and simplifying our company, deepening Shell’s financial resilience and competitiveness, in order to become a world-class investment.

“We are proud of having worked in New Zealand for more than 100 years. 

“Our customers, our neighbours, the regulator and partners have been a critical part of this journey and integral to our successes. I wish them all well.”

OMV’s CEO and Chairman, Rainer Seele, says, “This acquisition is an important step to develop Australasia into a core region in line with our new strategy.”

Here is a map showing OMV's interests in New Zealand:

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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21 Comments

Shell be right...

Interesting to see how Todd will manage with OMV being the new Big fish.

Smart move. Shell can see the writing in the wall, selling up just before the peak.

indeed, bit of a trend though, ie dumping retail onto 3rd parties and then exiting as there isnt much left.

What should be clear I think is if Shell thought there was a major oil field here they wouldnt be running away.

Stopped using their fuel when they failed to keep up with a 98 RON product like BP and Mobil. These days I use the Mobil 8000 exclusively in everything.

What a waste of money.
The one key advantage of high octane fuel is the ability to advance timing - that's the only place any substantial efficiency gains will come from.
Unless your car comes with some trick dynamic engine mapping abilities, there is little way you can arbitrage the increased cost and fuel mileage (short of dyno tuning the vehicle or dodgedly flashing the computer).

Always use 95/the recommended fuel type for the vehicle.
Unless you can always guarantee the quality of your fuel and re-tuned the engine accordingly, 98 octane fuel is a waste of money.

Some Japanese imports (primarily turbocharged) are able ti utilise the 100 octane pump gas they have in japan. They will run on 95, but do run better on 98. Not sure about fuel economy, as i haven't done any slow boring road trips in the cars i'm thinking of to compare, but you do get noticable less low rev knock and better low rev performance.

Yea. That's my point though.
Unless your car is tuned for a ~98 octane fuel grade, it is pointless using it.
Knock is most likely a consequence of combustible inputs in modern cars with modern ignition systems being that they can easily adjust timing parameters with the use of knock sensor inputs. The standard operating parameters of vehicles isn't to be suffering from knock. If you are using high octane to alleviate this, it is the sign of a much bigger issue and one that is better fixed by re-tuning.

Any 'gains' you receive are imaginary. Higher octane gas might have some peripheral benefits such as cleaning carbon deposits, etc, but you would not notice any difference in efficiency by simply switching gasoline types to a higher grade.

Agree, it really depends on the individual car.

Our current car shows significant increase in mileage using 98, as opposed to 95. Across a 50L tank we get an extra 80-100km open road, and about 30-40km around town.

It can use 91 at a pinch, but it is very hard on the O2 sensors. More than 1-2 tanks and they need replacing.

So given the gull effect. 98 at Gull is the same price as 95 everywhere else so it's a no brainer to use 98.

Previous car though, showed absolutely no difference using 91, 95, or 98, so you just stuck in the cheapest stuff you could find.

To make a generalization, given the age of the NZ fleet. I think it would be fair to say that most of the cars would not benefit from 98 - i.e. as you put it "Any 'gains' you receive are imaginary."

What's the vehicle, and what is the benchmark efficiency per 100km?

Otherwise, sorry, but I call BS on the 80-100km gain on 98 octane unless it has been extensively re-tuned.

My advice for the O2 sensor(s) - get a new mechanic. You are getting played if you think running your car on two tanks of 91 in NZ is going to blow your O2 sensors.

Car is a 2005 Toyota avensis.

Meant to be about 9.4L per 100km (Combined)

Open road on 91 we got 8.7L (1 trip logged)
Open road on 95 we get about 8.2-9.2L/100km Depending on loading. (35 trips logged)
Open road on 98 we get about 7.1-7.4L/100km Depending on Loading. (18 trips logged)
For absolute clarification 1 trip on the Open road is New Plymouth to Wellington and back. Nothing too steep or windy, but a lot of Milk tankers to contend with, so some extra acceleration at times :-)

Comparing 7.4 to 8.2 (i.e. worst 98 reading to best 95 reading) still has us at about 65km more per tank.
Average is about 7.3 - 8.5 though which sits at about 96km more per tank.

City driving
95 = 9.7 - 10.9
98 = 8.8 - 10.1

Like I said, I think it depends on the individual car, and likely the driver as well. I keep some consistent records, and am usually the driver, so feel I can draw some pretty valid conclusions on this particular vehicle.

"You are getting played if you think running your car on two tanks of 91 in NZ is going to blow your O2 sensors."

I'll be sure to pass that on to myself (and my fuel sensors).

I have only used two tanks of 91 in this car, and the engine light came on mid 2nd tank for the sensors. Could be other factors, but based on some research it seems likely to be related.

Personally I won't ever use 91 in this car, as I expect you would very quickly encounter more critical failures.

You should write to Toyota and tell them that you have made an outstanding discovery in the field of vehicle efficiency.
I don't at all doubt your numbers as they sound very fastidious. Fuel efficiency is a fun and interesting pursuit.

However..
This is reminiscent of an issue accentuating the benefit of fuel octane grade - a very simple one being that your knock sensor is stuffed.
If, as you say you have issues with O2 sensors, it could explain the difference in readings also.
Essentially an '05 Toyota Avensis should not be getting a ~10% increase in efficiency from simply using a higher octane fuel. See my other posts as to the reasoning.

Again I agree, but I can only attest to my specific vehicle.

As with anything. There is never one simple explanation.

Most likely it is a combination of things including
Time since last:
- Oil change
- Transmission fluid change
- Filter clean
- tyre change
- wheel alignment and balancing

Then the more intagible things such as
Distance travelled, speed, road quality, age of car/components, driving style, and fuel makeup/quality.

However with everything else remaining relatively consistent in the car week to week, the fuel is the one noticeable mitigating factor.

Like I said originally I do agree with you, but I for my car, I can't argue with the numbers.

Gull 98 is pisswater.. they water it down with Ethanol, which has a high octane rating but low energy content (less kms per litre). I get less mileage on Gull 98 than regular 95 in my road car. I only buy it because its the cheapest premium grade fuel on my route to work at the moment by 5c/litre and it makes next to no difference as I idle along the motorway in traffic.

If you are getting better mileage on gull 98 than on regular 95 I suspect there is something wrong somewhere.

In general I agree.

Problem is you have a range of potential factors influencing the fuel quality, none of which the average motorist can assess.
- Additives (quality and type)
- Age of fuel
- Metering issues
- Actual watering down (Not really an issue here, but not uncommon overseas)

I have used non-gull 98 a few times, and it does have the best mileage figure of all those I have recorded. But it's hard to tell if that was solely due to the fuel given the loading in the car.

Given only one other place in NP sells 98, and that is horrendously expensive, plus the fact the Gull stuff seems to be working (compared with the locally available 95) means I will stick with it.

Fair enough. And i agree, the prices charged for real 98 are extortionate. 25c/L more than 91 round here last time i checked.

Don't get me started on the prices :-)

Now that I am looking into it in a bit more depth, my guess is that it is most likely as simple as it is an all new set up in New Plymouth.

i.e. brand new station and storage tanks. So minimal contamination issues and build up of crap.

My guess is that over time the milage will degrade to the more standard Gull98 experience.

Your talking to an Engineer with extensive automotive and racing experience. The cars I drive are JDM imports and as pointed out above they run better on high octane. One is a modified MR2 turbo so I will just leave it at that as I don't have time to give free lessons on here.

Read my comment again - It essentially said if your vehicle is tuned for a specific octane rating, use that fuel.

The JDM Nissan Micra imports don't need to be running on 98.

You must get so much street cred with your modified MR2 Turbo. Can I trade my RS4?

As an engineer you surely have a good idea as to how modern ignition systems work on a different range of cars. So, save me the time explaining why higher octane fuel does not either lean out your mixture or advance your timing and why octane rating thus has nothing to do with what horsepower your car makes.
An octane rating purely signals the resistance to detonation of the fuel - hence my whole argument.

Higher octane fuel doesn't advance your timing.. correct technically. But it does allow the ignition system to advance the timing further. A modern cars ignition system in closed loop literally advances the timing until it senses knock, then backs it off a fraction, so substandard fuel will result in less advance and less efficiency. And most japanese performance cars are tuned for GREATER than 95 octane. Japanese premium fuel is minimum 96 octane.

Incorrect.
Standard ECU function is to retard spark if it detects knock.
It is not normal at all to advance spark from standard settings until knock is detected. It's an incredibly stupid thing to do if the goal is (like on most vehicles) long term reliability.