Shell still analysing seismic results

ALEX FENSOME
Last updated 05:00 14/09/2012

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Oil giant Shell is still treating the Great South Basin as a potential major project and remains on course to decide whether to drill by mid-2014.

Southland Energy Consortium chairman Mark O'Connor said a stakeholder presentation last month updated Shell's position on the Basin.

Shell told the Energy Consortium it would take until mid-2013 to evaluate all of the data collected by the seismic survey ship Polarcus Alima last summer.

Shell spokeswoman Tui MacDonald said the data was "of very good quality".

"In the meantime regional geological evaluations are ongoing," she said.

"Geologists and geophysicists are studying all available data to understand the geological history of the Great South Basin. This includes the types of rocks that are present, how they got there and what natural forces these rocks were exposed to."

Before the seismic surveying began last summer, it was believed natural gas was the most likely resource to be present. This had not changed since the survey, she said.

"Evaluation of nearby wells drilled in the 70s and 80s and the regional data indicate that gas is present in the area, and that only gas can be expected to be found."

Mr O'Connor said he believed it would take until early 2014 to work up the business case for drilling.

"Realistically, the start of the well will be the summer of 2014-15," Mr O'Connor said.

Should there be viable deposits of gas, the Basin would be competing against other global opportunities for Shell, he said.

"It could still not get a tick," he said. alex.fensome@stl.co.nz

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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