Mitsui Participates in exploration block off New Zealand

Mitsui & Co. Ltd. subsidiary Mitsui E&P New Zealand Ltd. has acquired a 12.5% interest in exploration permit PEP38460 in New Zealand's offshore Taranaki Basin.

Mitsui & Co. Ltd. subsidiary Mitsui E&P New Zealand Ltd. has acquired a 12.5% interest in exploration permit PEP38460 in New Zealand's offshore Taranaki Basin.

MEPNZ signed an asset sale and purchase agreement to acquire 7.5% interest from New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd. and 5% interest from Pan Pacific Petroleum NL, a sister company of NZOG based in Australia. Regulatory approval of the transaction is being obtained.

Block PEP38460, 70 km west of the North Island, saw the Tui oil discovery was in February 2003. The field holds estimated recoverable reserves of 20 MMbbl. Several other prospects and leads are expected within the block, including the Pukeko prospect 70 km south of Tui. Total potential oil reserves on the block have been placed at over 100 MMbbl. Up to three exploratory wells are to be drilled by September 2004 to test these prospects. Commercial viability of the block will be evaluated following the drilling program.

Several oil and gas fields have been discovered in Taranaki Basin recently, and Mitsui plans to expand its E&P activities in Australasia and New Zealand.

Transworld E&P Inc. operates block PEP38460 with 45% interest. Partners include New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd. with 20%, Pan Pacific Petroleum NL (Australia) with 15%, and Australian Worldwide Exploration Ltd. (Australia) with 20%.

11/05/03

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