Anadarko pulls plug on NZ drilling

Last updated 05:00 13/03/2014

ANADARKO: Done drilling at 4619m.

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Oil and gas prospectors remain confident in the wealth beneath Taranaki waters despite Anadarko pulling out of New Zealand after an unsuccessful drilling campaign.

The Texan oil giant's $300 million drilling campaign is just days away from ending and though analysis of the wells has not yet been completed, its search for oil and gas in the Taranaki and Canterbury Basins looks like a flop.

But the unsuccessful attempts of Anadarko have not slowed the flurry of activity in Taranaki waters, where four new wells are yet to be drilled this season.

"Taranaki still has a high level of interest as a petroleum destination," Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (Pepanz) chief executive David Robinson said.

Chief operating officer and general manager of AWE in New Zealand, Dennis Washer, said AWE was drilling in its Tui area off the Taranaki coast and would continue to do so. "We're not concerned with other companies' success."

He said Anadarko was doing "big field exploration" which carried a high risk of finding nothing.

They did hope other companies had success because it helped keep service businesses in Taranaki and project operation costs down, Mr Washer said.

Greens candidate and environmental campaigner Sarah Roberts said if Anadarko had failed to find oil in the Taranaki and Canterbury Basins it would come as no surprise.

"It's part of a boom and bust approach to the economy that the Government is focusing on," Ms Roberts said.

She said Taranaki needed more diverse businesses to employ people in ongoing work, rather than having to "wait for the next hit".

Mr Robinson said finding oil was tough and that was the nature of the business.

"The oil is where the oil is and the only way to find it is to drill for it."

He said there was no getting away from the fact the petroleum sector directly and indirectly employed several thousand people in Taranaki.

The Daily News understands some workers on the Canterbury Basin Anadarko drilling campaign have been given five days' notice by the company.

Yesterday Anadarko's New Zealand manager Alan Seay would not say when or if the company would return to Taranaki waters, but said if it did it would not be any time soon.

He said the data retrieved from the drilling might still shed light on the presence of oil in both areas.

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- Taranaki Daily News


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