Shell New Zealand says there are positive signs emerging from a seismic survey in the Great South Basin, part of a joint venture exploration the oil company is leading.
Computer and other interpretation of the survey material was being done by Shell teams in Kuala Lumpur and Amsterdam, the chairman of the Shell companies in New Zealand, Rob Jager, said.
"The data is fantastic in quality and it certainly gives us some hope that we're not wasting our time, but ultimately before you make a decision to drill there's a number of things you need to be sufficiently comfortable with."
The information from the seismic survey was also hefty, in the order of a container-load of seismic information tapes, Jager said.
"It takes a large amount of time to crunch through that. We're working towards making a decision early next year whether to proceed with the . . . drilling phase." A possible test could be drilled by the summer of 2014-15 at the earliest.
The cost of drilling a single offshore well or possibly two was $100 million to $200m, given the expense of bringing a specialised rig.
"We [would] expect to find gas, we certainly don't expect to find black oil [if we drill]," he said.
"The Great South Basin has had about six wells already over a very large area."
Hunt Petroleum drilled in the 1970s and 80s and found indications of hydrocarbons. Fairfax NZ
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you think state schools should conduct religious instruction for primary-aged children?