Australian-listed Origin Energy is bullish on the potential
of exporting liquefied natural gas (lng) from the Caravel
prospect off the coast of Oamaru, at present being
test-drilled by Houston-based oil giant Anadarko.
Anadarko is 45% joint venture partner and operator at the
Caravel prospect, while Origin has a 45% share, with the
remaining 10% held by Discover Exploration Canterbury NZ BV.
Anadarko began drilling at Caraval prospect last month, using
the drill ship Noble Bob Douglas , in a month-long
single-hole test-drilling programme, estimated to be costing
up to $US100 million.
Last weekend, more than 600 anti-oil protesters took to the
numerous beaches around Otago's coastline to criticise
deep-sea drilling, calling on the Government to invest in
clean and green energy. The Greenpeace protest was one of
many around the South Island, as part of its Banners on the
Origin Energy is reported by newspaper The Australian to have
said this week it was looking at opportunities to build its
lng exposure, once the $US24.7 billion ($NZ29.9 billion)
Australia Pacific lng plant it is building with
ConocoPhillips at Gladstone, in Queensland, begins delivering
cash after 2016.
Speaking after delivering Origin's first-half results,
managing director Grant King said although it was early days
in the strategy, the big Caravel prospect off Dunedin's coast
was of a magnitude to support lng exports, if the $US50
million-plus well being drilled there was successful, the
Anadarko New Zealand manager Alan Seay was contacted, and did
not discount Mr King's description of the potential of the
''Yes, it could be a very significant resource; but that's if
we find anything,'' he said.
The drill ship spudded in, or began drilling, on February 10
and given there had been almost a fortnight of settled
weather, Mr Seay yesterday said the drilling programme
''could come in earlier than the 35-days'' predicted.
Anadarko's Noble Bob Douglas spent about 70 days, at a cost
of about $US250 million, on deep-water drilling programmes
off Taranaki, which found no commercially viable
hydrocarbons, before the ship shifted south.
In the Canterbury Basin, Noble Bob Douglas is operating in
1100m of water, with the test well drilled to 1700m below the
seabed, to a total 2800m. Any hydrocarbon finds of commercial
quantities could prompt drilling of one or more appraisal
wells in the future.
The prospects of Caravel, Carrack, Galleon, Endeavour,
Resolution and Barque off the coast from Oamaru have, since
the 1970s, attracted the most attention from explorers in the
South Island, with five shows of oil or gas, but none in
commercially viable quantities, the last being in 2006.
In last year's block offer tendering round by Government
permitting agency New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals, listed
New Zealand Oil and Gas (NZOG) was awarded the Galleon
permit, next to its existing stake in the Clipper prospect.
NZOG has recently completed a ship-borne hydrographic survey
of the area, understood to have cost $8 million to $10
• The 10% shareholder in the Anadarko-Origin Energy
project at Caravel, is a subsidiary of Netherlands-based
company Discover Exploration BV, which is headquartered in
Amsterdam, but maintains a Wellington address.