Oil major Shell said yesterday it has pulled out of the Kudu gas project in Namibia due to poor drilling results, after it had hoped to build the world's biggest floating liquified natural gas (LNG) barge for the offshore field.

"We didn't find any gas in two recent drills," said a Shell spokeswoman, adding that estimated proven reserves of around one trillion cubic feet (tcf) had not been considered sufficient.

Shell, which owned 75 per cent of the rights to the field, has passed these on to the other holders, ChevronTexaco and Energy Africa at no financial gain, a ChevronTexaco spokesman said.

The U.S. major now holds 60 per cent, up from 15 per cent, while Energy Africa has the remaining 40 per cent. ChevronTexaco said it had not yet decided whether it would continue prospecting.

Shell said the project needed around 2.5 tcf to be viable, while reserves in excess of 5 tcf could have seen a floating gas production plant built. It was hoping to conclude a proposal this year to pipe the gas to Cape Town for power generation.