Tag plans $40m Taranaki drilling programme

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 25/01/2013

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Tag Oil is gearing up to spend more than $40 million on a major drilling campaign around Taranaki this year.

At least 13 new wells are planned as part of the drilling programme, the majority of which are around the Cheal field near Ngaere.

In addition to the proposed drilling, resource consents are being sought for 10 new surface drilling pads within Tag's Taranaki Basin permitted area. Each drill pad is intended to host up to 12 wells, providing potential for Tag to drill up to 120 wells in the coming years.

Tag Oil chief executive Garth Johnson said yesterday the programme was building on the success of the company's operations in 2011 and 2012.

"With a record number of wells to drill in Taranaki as well as plans for the upcoming drilling in the East Coast Basin, I'm confident our plans will continue to become our reality."

Mr Johnson said its work programme for the coming year would be steady as she goes and despite the company planning to drill a record 13 wells, there would be no haste or rushing.

"We will go about this work in the same safe, methodical way we have with the other wells we have drilled in the area," Mr Johnson said.

"We know the area where the Cheal permits are situated very well.

"We have drilled 19 successful wells in a row with careful planning and a high standard of well design."

After drilling 21 successful wells in Taranaki, the oil company also now plans deeper wells in the Kapuni area.

The Taranaki Daily News was unable to contact Tag Oil's Taranaki-based chief operating officer Drew Cadenhead yesterday.

But environmental activist Sarah Roberts said the face of Taranaki will be unrecognisable if the number of wells continues to grow like this.

"It's unbelievable. Stratford people are in for a very rude awakening."

Meanwhile, Tag's $30m infrastructure expansion investment continues to proceed on time to meet the completion date of March 31, 2013. At that time, Tag expects its shut-in wells, which are already drilled and tested, to be placed into full time production.

This will meet two of the company's goals - to maximise the commercial potential of existing and future wells at Cheal and Sidewinder, and to become a completely independent processor, transporter and marketer of the natural gas.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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