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Gas litigation in New Zealand High Court

Cento was an expert economics witness in a major Commerce Act 1986 litigation in the New Zealand High Court in the gas production sector.  The nine week trial of Todd v. Shell & OMV concerned a dispute between joint venture partners over production limits at New Zealand’s largest gas field at Pohokura.  The parties collectively fielded five economists who participated in a five day ‘hot tub’ before Mr Justice Dobson and Professor Richardson covering issues of market definition, the impact on wellhead gas prices of the major downward revision of the Maui gas field which reduced gas reserves initially by over 30%, the economics of joint venture arrangements and their treatment under the Commerce Act, whether the production cap in lieu of a Gas Balancing Agreement constituted withholding supply and substantial lessen competition, and lost opportunity damages.  Cento was instructed by Russell McVeagh (Wellington) and of counsel Jim Farmer QC.  A decision is expected before the end of the year.

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