Shell's first exploration in New Zealand was in the Kotuku Oilfields, on the West Coast of the South Island.


Prospecting widened, taking in Hawke's Bay, Gisborne and Taranaki.


During WWII Shell contributed to New Zealand’s wartime drilling programme, working with other exploration companies to find a new source of oil for the Allies.


In 1955 Shell entered a joint venture agreement to explore oil and gas deposits in the Taranaki basin.

The Kapuni field was discovered by the Shell, BP & Todd joint venture in 1959.


Kapuni started production in 1969, introducing a new era of plentiful and affordable natural gas supply for New Zealanders.

In 1969, the Māui natural gas field was discovered 40 kilometres off the Taranaki coast. It was one of the largest offshore gas fields in the world at the time.


In 1973 the Government signed landmark agreements leading to the development of thermal power stations to be fed by Māui’s natural gas to power the country.

Production started from the Māui A platform in 1979.


Māui B was built as a satellite platform in 1992.

When crude oil reserves were discovered, the FPSO (floating production storage & offloading) Whakaaropai was added to the Māui field.


Shell acquired the Pohokura prospect in 2001.

After NZ$1 billion was spent building the high-tech field which is New Zealand’s largest natural gas resource, the Pohokura wells began to flow in 2006 (onshore) and 2007 (offshore).


In 2010 Shell sold its network of petrol stations, commercial, aviation, marine, bitumen and chemical businesses, and a distribution network, to Infratil Limited and the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation. This company now operates as Z Energy Limited.

The search for new natural gas reserves continues with a seismic surveys in the Great South Basin (2014), the New Caledonia Basin (2016) and Kapuni field (2016). 

We are excited about continuing to invest in New Zealand as we meet New Zealanders’ energy needs into the future.

More in about us

Who we are

Learn about our business and people, which grew from a small shop in London nearly 200 years ago to become a major energy company.

What we do

Shell is an international energy company that aims to meet the world’s growing need for more and cleaner energy solutions in ways that are economically, environmentally and socially responsible.

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Social Investment

Shell’s Social Investment in New Zealand focusses on partnerships that support biodiversity.

Locations and Projects

Shell has been safely operating in New Zealand for over 100 years. In August 2017 Shell Taranaki Limited took over operatorship of the Māui, Pohokura natural gas assets and Tank farms. Its share of Kapuni was sold to Todd Energy who now operate the Kapuni field.