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Austrian-based OMV New Zealand is buying two offshore Taranaki gas fields and onshore production and storage facilities, after receiving consent under the Overseas Investment Act.

This investment will see the Maui and Pohokura fields further developed before being decommissioned in the future.

Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage and Associate Finance Minister David Clark approved two applications from OMV in December.

The company will buy a majority interest in Maui and Pohokura from UK-owned Shell. It will also buy a minority interest in Maui from New Zealand’s Todd Corporation. OMV will end up owning 74 percent of the Pohokura gas field and 100 percent of the Maui gas field.

OMV Group is one of Austria’s largest listed companies. It has been investing in New Zealand since 1999 and already had interests in the Pohokura and Maui joint ventures.

The investment will create hundreds of new short to medium-term jobs and retain about 200 jobs for longer than would have been the case without the investment. OMV will invest more than $1 billion, some of which will be spent on research and development, evaluation and delivery for exploration and field life projects. It will also increase market competition.

The Ministers’ approval includes conditions to ensure that the investment delivers the benefits to New Zealand.

Approval was required under the Overseas Investment Act because the transactions include rural land over five hectares, and because the assets underlying both transactions topped the $100 million threshold for overseas investments in business assets.

The OIO was satisfied that the individuals who control the investments have the business experience needed and are of good character, and that the company showed a financial commitment to the investment.

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