New Zealand Energy (NZEC) has been awarded a new exploration permit in the annual New Zealand block offer, expanding the company's net onshore exploration land package in the Taranaki Basin by 16,455 acres (66.5 km2).
NZEC lodged a bid for Block TAR7 ("PEP 54867") in a 60/40 joint venture with a subsidiary of New Zealand Oil & Gas ("NZOG"). Joint venturing to advance this permit brings together two companies with extensive experience in the Taranaki Basin, skilled exploration and development teams, and the financial resources to thoroughly appraise and advance the property.
PEP 54867 lies within a large underexplored part of southwest Taranaki, immediately adjacent the large Kapuni gas-condensate field and contiguous with the south end of NZEC's Eltham permit (Figure 1). With the Kapuni field and numerous oil fields to the east and a number of large oil and gas fields offshore to the west, there is a high level of assurance that petroleum is actively migrating through this block, yet there has been very little exploration in the area. Exploration wells in adjoining areas, including the Kapuni wells to the east and the Te Kiri wells to the northwest, provide important technical information as does 90 km of 2D seismic collected on the property. In addition, the Kapuni 3D seismic survey extends 1,750 metres onto the permit from the east, providing valuable control on the eastern edge of the property. PEP 54867 has good access to existing infrastructure, including oil and gas gathering lines and a production station.
NZEC and NZOG have identified stratigraphic/fault-trap leads in the Urenui, Mt. Messenger and Moki formations on the property. With 14 wells producing from the Kapuni anticline less than 5 km east of the property, additional potential may exist in the deeper Kapuni formation. The partners' first priority is to advance the property with continued reprocessing and interpretation of existing data and the acquisition of new 2D and 3D seismic data. The partners plan to acquire 70 km of 2D seismic in the first 18 months and 30 km2 of 3D seismic in the third year to further define exploration leads and collect the information required to make a drilling decision.
As 60% owner, NZEC will be operator of the property with NZOG contributing technical expertise and manpower and funding 40% of expenditures. NZOG is an independent, Wellington-based exploration and production company listed on both the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges. NZOG holds an interest in the Kupe gas and oil field and the Tui oil field, both located in the offshore Taranaki Basin, has additional exploration partnerships in New Zealand and recently expanded its portfolio to include properties in Tunisia and Indonesia.
"The addition of PEP 54867 to our portfolio gives NZEC strategic control over a promising, unexplored block of land and strengthens our long-term growth plans," said John Proust, Chief Executive Officer and Director of NZEC. "We look forward to working with NZOG, sharing both knowledge and financial responsibility as we advance the property. NZOG brings decades of New Zealand technical expertise to the partnership and shares NZEC's commitment to responsible resource development."