Texan oil company Anadarko says it's too early to know if oil drilling in the Canterbury Basin has come up dry.
Greenpeace said today the exploratory well drilled off the Otago coast, about 60 kilometres northeast of Dunedin, has failed to yield any oil.
It would be the second such failure for Anadarko, after a well off the Taranaki coast also came up dry last month.
Greenpeace New Zealand campaigner Steve Abel said the news was cause for celebration.
"If it's correct they have failed to find oil for a second time there are many who will open a Speights tonight in celebration of the news that Texan oil company Anadarko are about to batten the hatches and get out of here."
But Anadarko New Zealand manager Alan Seay said it was too early to tell if there was oil in the basin.
"We're still in the process of gathering the data so regardless of what you discover or don't discover from a test well, they do yield an awful [lot] of valuable information, so that is what we are in the process of gathering now."
Anadarko was also looking for a huge gas field in the basin but could not confirm this until all of the data was collated, which could take about 12 months.
Plans for the immediate drilling of a second exploratory well off the Otago coast have been cancelled, Seay said.
"The drilling has finished.
"We did have plans in place to drill a second well if we come to the view that that was warranted but that is not the case, it was always a long shot."
Once the drill ship Noble Bob Douglas completed the logging of its data it would be leaving New Zealand, Seay said.
The drilling was part of a $308 million programme for Anadarko.
"We've got other exploratory interests in New Zealand that we will be progressing," Seay said.
Green Party energy spokesman Gareth Hughes said it was time the Government abandoned deep sea drilling plans.
"National's deep sea drilling plans are failing, it's time they focused on clean energy, green-tech and IT which will actually deliver jobs and regional economic development.
"New Zealand has a huge opportunity in the clean energy sector which could be worth billions of dollars annually.
"The Government's $46 million exploration subsidy to the oil drilling industry last year could have built a lot of solar panels."
- Fairfax Media