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Commission Clears Shell Overseas Holdings

Issued 26 October 2001/106

Commission Clears Shell Overseas Holdings To Purchase Rights To The TAWN Deep

The Commerce Commission has cleared Shell Overseas Holdings Limited to purchase up to 100% of the assets and interests associated with the formations below the existing TAWN oil and gas production fields in Taranaki, known as the TAWN Deep.

In November last year, the Commission cleared Shell to acquire a number of gas production fields from Fletcher Challenge Energy. The clearance for that acquisition was subject to Shell divesting some of the fields, including TAWN.

Subsequently Shell sought clearance from the Commission to acquire back the rights associated with what is known as the TAWN Deep. The proposed acquisition only involves the gas exploration market and has no impact on the gas production market.

Commission deputy chair Paula Rebstock said the Commission was satisfied that the proposed acquisition would not significantly lessen competition in the gas exploration and other gas markets.

"The Commission considers that the presence of a large number of other exploration companies will ensure that Shell would not be able to exercise any market power," said Ms Rebstock.

"Furthermore, the Commission considers that the scope for the exercise of co-ordinated market power would not be enhanced by the acquisition.

"The Commission concluded that the barriers to entry are not likely to deter expansion or new entry in the exploration market."

Note: TAWN refers to four fields in the Taranaki region - Tariki, Ahuroa, Waihapa and Ngaere.


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