Australian funds buying Maui gas pipeline

A group led by Shell has agreed to sell the Maui Pipeline, a natural gas transmission system in New Zealand, to two infrastructure funds managed by First State Investments of Australia.

The 307-km transmission line carries gas from a production station south of New Plymouth to the Huntly Power Station south of Auckland in North Island. It receives gas from 12 shippers at six production stations. Slightly more than half the gas, which in 2013 totaled 135 PJ, goes to the power station and two methanol plants owned by Methanex.

The buyers, Global Diversified Infrastructure Fund and Colonial First State Active Infrastructure Income Fund, agreed to pay $335 million (NZ) for the pipeline. The seller is Maui Mining Cos., owned 83.75% by Shell, 10% by OMV NZ, and 6.25% by Todd Energy.

First State Investments, known in Australia as Colonial First State Global Asset Management, recently agreed to purchase 100% of Vector Gas Ltd., which owns the Vector gas transmission network and distribution assets in New Zealand, from Vector Ltd.

The Maui pipeline and Vector transmission system have 13 interconnection points.

Shell said the sale did not relate to its announcement last month that its interests in New Zealand are under review.

“The future of the Maui pipeline has been under consideration for a long time” by the ownership group, it said.

The New Zealand interests under review are profitable but represent a small part of Shell’s global business, the company said.

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