Invercargill City Council officials say they're ready for Shell to base its onshore logistics in the city if the oil company decides to drill a test well off the southern South Island coast.
Shell held talks in both Dunedin and Invercargill this week to outline its plans.
On Monday, about a dozen protesters noisily shut down a community workshop in Dunedin run by Shell over its plans for a deepwater test well off the Otago-Southland coast.
Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt says he's standing by Shell so far and protesters need to listen to what it has to say.
The company estimates a gas field bigger than Taranaki's Maui field exists off in the Great South Basin and has until January to drill a test well or forfeit its rights there.