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Sale of Crown's stake in Kupe gas field to proceed

Sale of Crown's stake in Kupe gas field to proceed

The Crown will proceed with the sale of its 11 percent share in the Kupe gas field to the state-owned electricity generator Genesis Power. The Government decided in April this year to sell to Genesis its share in Kupe, which is off the southern Taranaki coast, to facilitate the development of the field.

The sale process was suspended in May to enable the Government to receive and consider the Waitangi Tribunal’s Petroleum Report. The report recommended that the Crown's share in Kupe be available for inclusion in Treaty settlements.

Energy Minister Pete Hodgson said the Government's confirmation today that it does not agree with the Tribunal's findings and will not act on its recommendations enables the sale process to resume.

Genesis owns 70 percent of the Kupe field, with the remaining 19 percent held by NZ Oil and Gas Ltd. It is selecting a field operator and aims to bring the field into production in 2006.

"As a part owner of the field the Government would be obliged to share development costs, but it has no wish to be commercially involved," Mr Hodgson said. "The Kupe joint venture agreement gives the field's other owners first right of refusal if the Crown decides to sell. A sale to Genesis will enable the company to move ahead with development with certainty over the ownership structure."

The timing and conditions of the sale of the Crown's share to Genesis is still to be negotiated.

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