Goldie fighters sent to corners

The High Court stoush between Ngatoro partner Greymouth Petroleum and Goldie oil field discoverer Indo-Pacific Energy is unlikely to be settled until mid-2003 at the earliest.
Goldie fighters sent to corners Goldie fighters sent to corners Goldie fighters sent to corners Goldie fighters sent to corners Goldie fighters sent to corners

It is understood that Justice Wylde, in the High Court in Wellington, last week adjourned all matters to next year, with a tentative hearing date scheduled for March or April. A single hearing of all matters is likely to take several weeks.

Earlier this year EnergyReview.Net revealed that Greymouth Petroleum had filed High Court proceedings against Indo-Pacific Energy in relation to the small onshore Taranaki Goldie oil discovery.

This followed months of discord, claim and counter-claim by the two parties, relating to the operation and ownership of the Goldie-1 well, which Indo-Pacific drilled on a sole-risk basis early last year.

At the core of these claims and counter-claims are differing interpretations of Greymouth's purchase of the majority Ngatoro stake from Shell and Indo-Pacific's "sole risk" Goldie venture.

It is claiming an entitlement to 92.2564% of production from Goldie, instead of the 59.57% Ngatoro stake it bought from Shell, and the right to sell Goldie gas. Greymouth had also been trying to take delivery of all gas produced from the Ngatoro mining licence, not just from the Goldie pool situated within PMP 382148.

As well, the Auckland-headquartered company has been claiming Goldie hydrocarbon production is only testing as the company had not approved a development plan. Greymouth is also claiming about $40 million in damages because Indo-Pacific is not operating the field "optimally".

Shell New Zealand bought back into Goldie last year for an initial payment of about $US750, 000 and agreed to forego production worth about six times that amount. Fellow Ngatoro partner New Zealand Oil and Gas declined to buy back in to Goldie.

Shell NZ later sold the former FCE 59.57% stake in PMP 38148, in which the Goldie and Tabla pools are situated, to Greymouth for an undisclosed sum.

Industry commentators say one or two of the Greymouth claims may have some validity, but they are dubious about the rest. However, they say this prolonged, boisterous legal jousting is tarnishing New Zealand's reputation as a favourable exploration destination.