23 Nov 2005

Shell withdraws from Pacific, endangers at least 300 jobs

2:35 pm on 23 November 2005

At least 300 jobs are in jeopardy as the oil company Shell pulls out of the Pacific Islands region.

The general manager of Shell Fiji, Peter Walsh, says the firm is now seeking expressions of interest for its operations in Fiji, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Samoa, Vanuatu, Tonga and the Cook Islands.

Mr Walsh says the whole national operations, or individual businesses will be sold as going concerns over the next 12 to 18 months.

"No approaches have been made yet, this is the start of it. We've taken the position that the most important people are staff and customers must be advised in advance before we go out and seek expressions of interest."

The US firm Interoil says it's agreed in principle to buy Shell's operations in Papua New Guinea.