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Shell says reviewing New Zealand assets

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Energy giant Royal Dutch Shell said on Thursday it was reviewing its business interests in New Zealand as the company seeks to streamline its global portfolio amid a slump in energy prices.

[WELLINGTON] Energy giant Royal Dutch Shell said on Thursday it was reviewing its business interests in New Zealand as the company seeks to streamline its global portfolio amid a slump in energy prices.

The Anglo Dutch firm is focusing on large growth opportunities, with deep water and integrated gas as priorities, after announcing plans to raise $50 billion from asset sales between 2014 and 2018 while cutting jobs and costs. "The Shell business in New Zealand is a great, but a small part of the global Shell business and hence the decision to undertake a strategic review at this time," Rob Jager, Country Chairman of Shell New Zealand, said in a statement.

Shell has been in New Zealand for more than 100 years and is the country's largest gas producer, with stakes in the Maui, Kapuni and Pohokura fields in Taranaki and a deepwater exploration licence in the Great South Basin.

The company also owns a majority stake in the Maui Pipeline, the largest high-pressure pipeline in New Zealand, which was put up for sale earlier this year.

Jager said it was speculative to suggest the assets would be sold but the sale of the Maui pipeline was not included in the review and would continue as planned.

Shell, which in October reported a huge third-quarter loss due to US$8 billion of write-offs in Alaska and Canada, aims to cut costs by US$11 billion in 2015 to cope with a prolonged period of lower oil prices, currently below US$40 a barrel.

The company employs about 420 people in New Zealand, including staff of Shell Todd Oil Services, a joint venture company with the privately owned Todd Corp.

REUTERS