Austrian oil giant OMV has made its second large investment commitment to New Zealand in a week, agreeing to pay for the drilling of the Matuku-1 prospect off the Taranaki coast late next year.
The well is expected to cost tens of millions of dollars and could be followed by a second well.
Matuku will be the first in a series of wells OMV is planning to drill in the Taranaki basin later next year.
Earlier this week, OMV New Zealand said it was about to buy a converted supertanker capable of storing 600,000 barrels of crude oil off Taranaki. OMV, operator and 69 per cent owner of the Maari oilfield southwest of Opunake, is soon to buy the Raroa, the ship that stores the oil the field produces.
The Matuku well will be drilled in 135 metres of water, going down to a depth of 4850m, targeting Kapuni sand structures.
OMV is negotiating to secure a rig to drill Matuku-1 in the third or fourth quarter of next year.
OMV has a 65 per cent stake in the permit, with Australian company Octanex holding the balance. As a result of a farm-in deal, Octanex will be free- carried through site-survey and drilling costs.
If the well is successful, the prospect could contain up to 65 million barrels of oil. The "wildcat" well in an untested area is to the west of the giant Maui gas field.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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