New Zealand Oil & Gas Buys 5.77% Stake in Pan Pacific

New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd. (NZO), owner of an interest in the Tui oil field off the country’s North Island, said it bought a minority stake in Pan Pacific Petroleum NL (PPP), a partner in the project.

The company had purchased 5.77 percent of Sydney-based Pan Pacific by the close of trading yesterday, Wellington-based New Zealand Oil & Gas said today in a statement to the Australian stock exchange. Australian regulations restrict the company to a shareholding of less than 15 percent without Foreign Investment Review Board approval, it said.

New Zealand Oil & Gas, the nation’s biggest publicly traded explorer, owns 12.5 percent of the Tui venture, which is operated by Australian Worldwide Exploration Ltd. (AWE) and includes Mitsui & Co. as a partner. The project is set to produce 9 million barrels of oil in the year ending June 30, 2009.

The stake in Pan Pacific “is being acquired at a premium to the recent market price,” New Zealand Oil & Gas said, without giving details. The company believes it is paying “a fair and attractive price to achieve a meaningful shareholding” in Pan Pacific, said David Salisbury, chief executive officer.

Pan Pacific closed unchanged at 30 Australian cents in Sydney today, after surging 46 percent on Dec. 15.

Pan Pacific said in a statement to the Australian stock exchange it would manage any conflict issues concerning its chairman Tony Radford, also the chairman of New Zealand Oil & Gas.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angela Macdonald-Smith in Sydney at amacdonaldsm@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amit Prakash at aprakash1@bloomberg.net

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