Premier and Shell join forces

PREMIER OIL and Royal Dutch/Shell's unit Shell Exploration BV yesterday announced they had agreed to combine their onshore exploration, development and production interests in Pakistan into a joint venture company valued at about $390m.

Premier will hold a 50.1 per cent equity interest and act as operator of the joint venture company, which will manage existing and future onshore upstream activities.

The venture is the second major alliance Shell has formed with an independent oil company to search mainly for gas in the region and reflects both Shell's thirst for new gas supplies in Asia and the expertise of smaller companies in exploiting those reserves.

Shares of Premier rose 1p to 46.75p. Shell Transportation & Trading shares in London, reflecting 40 per cent of the group, were up 2p at 420p.