OMV plugs Taranaki Basin well

HAMISH MCNICOL
Last updated 14:28 26/08/2014

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Austrian oil company OMV has plugged a well in the Taranaki Basin after the presence of commercial hydrocarbons could not be confirmed.

OMV, New Zealand's biggest oil producer and third-largest gas producer, said today that it had completed drilling operations at the Whio-1 exploration well.

It had drilled to a depth of 2824 metres, and while it encountered sandstones as expected, it could not confirm the presence of commercial hydrocarbons.

The well was being abandoned before the rig was moved.

OMV New Zealand managing director Peter Zeilinger said the well marked the end of the company's current exploration campaign.

"Although unsuccessful in making a commercial discovery at Whio-1, the data obtained is a valuable piece of the puzzle as we work to understand the generation and accumulation of hydrocarbons in the Taranaki Basin," he said.

Whio-1 was the third well drilled by the company with the Kan Tan IV semi-submersible rig over the past year.

In June, it announced its profits in New Zealand almost halved in the past year to $97 million, down from almost $180m in the previous year.

The drop was because the big Maari oilfield was out of production for more than four months while its tanker ship was repaired.

OMV's total production in New Zealand last year was equal to about 6 million barrels of oil.

For the December 2013 year, OMV New Zealand posted total revenues of about $510m, down from $676m in the previous year, reflecting the long shutdown of Maari and slightly lower world oil prices.

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