Oil drilling planned near Castlepoint
An oil company plans to drill near Castlepoint in Wairarapa, hoping to strike it rich in untested land.
Vancouver-owned New Zealand Energy Corporation plans to drill at least one exploration well on the East Coast of the North Island next year, after some initial sampling work at its Castlepoint permit late last year.
NZEC's website shows the Castlepoint permit has a prospective resource of 208.6 million barrels, while the adjacent Ranui permit has 40.5 million barrels.
The East Coast has more than 300 oil and gas seeps, sourced back to two oil shale formations, but there have been no commercial discoveries in the region.
NZEC said yesterday it was likely to drill an exploration well at its Castlepoint permit in the first half of 2013, targeting unconventional 'oil shales' and it had not ruled out using fracking to get a well to produce.
'Since neither NZEC nor any other companies have yet to drill an exploration well into the shales, there is not enough information to say with certainty that fracking will be required to get them to produce. But . . . they are considered an 'unconventional play' which often involves horizontal drilling and fracking,' said NZEC vice-president, communications and investor relations, Rhylin Bailie.
Meanwhile, NZEC plans to drill eight wells in its south Taranaki permits, starting next month, with at least one new well a month.
This year it has already had four consecutive oil discoveries from its Copper Moki wells, with three now in production. With another eight wells, it hopes to increase reserves and production with a daily target of 3000 barrels.
Its existing three wells in production averaged the equivalent of about 688 barrels of oil a day, with roughly half oil and half gas. All three of NZEC's producing wells in Taranaki are at the very northern part of the Eltham Permit on the Copper Moki site. All eight wells planned for the rest of this year will be on the Eltham Permit, but the locations are not public information yet.
NZEC announced yesterday that its new New Zealand country manager is Chris Bush, formerly from Australian giant Origin Energy, half owner of Contact Energy. Bush is chairman of the New Zealand Petroleum Exploration and Production Association.
With a completion date of October, NZEC is buying from Origin Energy four central Taranaki petroleum mining licences known as TAWN (Tariki, Aruhoa, Waihapa and Ngaere), plus the Waihapa production station east of Stratford. NZEC is still waiting for a Crown permit for its East Cape prospect which has a prospective resource of 355.4 million barrels.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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