N.Z. Oil & Gas Gets NZ$135 Million Loan, Sells Shares

New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd. (NZO), a partner in the country's Kupe gas field, has arranged a NZ$135 million ($89 million) loan to fund its share of the offshore project.

The loan from Westpac Banking Corp. includes a NZ$10 million credit line to support contractor guarantees, the company said. It also raised NZ$17.5 million selling shares and options to local institutions and will seek NZ$23 million from shareholders through a rights offer, New Zealand Oil & Gas said in a statement.

Kupe, the nation's largest undeveloped gas field, is the largest of three projects worth NZ$1.5 billion New Zealand Oil & Gas has stakes in and needs to fund. The NZ$980 million Kupe project will receive a further NZ$25 million equity injection from New Zealand Oil & Gas, the company said today.

``These financings will fully fund the company's budgeted share of the Kupe development costs,'' Chairman Tony Radford said in a statement.''

New Zealand Oil & Gas shares fell 3 cents, or 2.9 percent, to NZ$1 at the 5 p.m. close of trading in Wellington.

Institutions paid NZ$1 for the new shares and options. Existing shareholders will be offered the chance to buy one share with options for every 10 held at the same price, the Wellington- based company said.

N.Z. Oil & Gas owns 15 percent of Kupe. It owns 12.5 percent of the $225 million Tui oil project being developed off the country's Taranaki coast, and 61 percent of the NZ$144 million Pike River coal mine on the country's South Island.

Shares in Pike River will be offered publicly in February and N.Z. Oil & Gas holders will be entitled to a ``substantial portion'' of the sale at a rate of one Pike share for every eight oil and gas shares held, the company said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gavin Evans in Wellington at gavinevans@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reinie Booysen at rbooysen@bloomberg.net

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