WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZOG) has been awarded a new exploration permit, which lies to the west and south of the Kupe development offshore Taranaki. The area, designated as Petroleum Exploration Permit 51311, is approximately 3,000 sq km (1,158 sq mi).
The permit has been awarded for an initial term of five years, with the potential for a second term. An evaluation program is to be carried out in the first two years with a decision on drilling an exploration well to be taken at the end of the second year.
The company hopes to secure the seismic vesselPacific Titan, which is currently in New Zealand waters, to shoot 500 km (311 mi) of new 2D seismic. NZOG also plans to have some of the historic seismic data from the area reprocessed.
"There are a number of separate closures formed by upper Miocene sands, eroded by submarine channels, which were then in-filled by younger mudstones," says David Salisbury, NZOG's CEO. "These mudstones may have formed an effective lateral seal, trapping oil and/or gas. Similar oil bearing structures are known to exist in the Sacremento Valley in California and in the Gulf of Mexico."
According to the company, regional analysis of source zones and the proximity of Kupe indicate that there is a favorable chance for oil or wet gas. Rough estimates from the preliminary mapping indicate the potential for up to six structures ranging from 10 to 100 sq km (3.9 to 39 sq mi) in size.