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Origin Energy acquires remaining 50% of Rockgas

Media Release

11 March 2004

Origin Energy acquires remaining 50% interest in Rockgas

Origin Energy today signed an agreement with Caltex New Zealand to acquire Caltex’s 50% interest in Rockgas Limited.

This acquisition will provide Origin with full control of Rockgas the largest distributor of LPG in New Zealand with an annual turnover of $80 million. Under the agreement Origin will continue to supply Caltex with LPG for its autogas operations in New Zealand.

Commenting on the agreement Origin’s Executive General Manager, Wholesale & Trading, Karen Moses, said, “This acquisition consolidates Origin’s existing position in New Zealand and leverages the company’s experience in supplying LPG to homes and businesses in Australia and the Pacific.

“This investment is consistent with Origin’s focus on the competitive segments of the energy market. It also complements Origin’s efforts to strengthen its position in gas markets in the Pacific region as demonstrated by the recent acquisition of a 50% interest and operatorship of the Kupe gas field in New Zealand.”

Origin has considerable experience in the LPG business, having acquired Rockgas in a joint venture with Caltex New Zealand in 1990, as well as supplying LPG to more than 200,000 homes and businesses in Australia and to nine Pacific countries.

“This purchase is an indication of the confidence Origin has in the New Zealand LPG market,” Ms Moses said. “Rockgas has a strong brand presence in the market and is a well respected and innovative company. It will continue to be business as usual for all of its customers and staff.

“The joint venture with Caltex has been very successful and we are particularly pleased that Rockgas will remain Caltex’s preferred LPG supplier. We look forward to the on-going relationship with Caltex in the New Zealand LPG market.”

Established in 1934 the Rockgas name is synonymous with LPG in New Zealand. Rockgas employs over 120 staff and supplies over 50% of the New Zealand market. As New Zealand’s LPG specialist, Rockgas services 300 bulk industrial clients, 7,000 commercial accounts and over 13,000 domestic customers through its operation of retail outlets and franchise operations. It distributes to around 300 automotive LPG refuelling outlets around New Zealand, and leads the development of LPG reticulation in New Zealand with networks in Queenstown and Christchurch.

Rockgas will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Origin Energy Limited from March 31 2004.

ENDS

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