The drill ship Noble Bob Douglas departed New Zealand
waters last weekend. The ship has left its drill site north
of Dunedin and is bound for Argentina. Photo supplied.
Oil and gas exploration work off Otago's coast is
entering a two-year lull as the major players analyse results
from recent seismic hydrographic tests and from Anadarko's hole
60km north of Dunedin.
Anecdotally, the flurry of recent oil and gas activity has
surfaced in a regional economic confidence survey in Otago.
In the latest Westpac McDermott Miller regional economic
confidence survey for March, households expecting good
economic times in the region in the year ahead rose sharply
from a net negative 1% in December to a net 29% positive in
Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens said ''Oil and gas
exploration in the [Otago] region has been a hot topic and
this may have bolstered people's view of the outlook for
economic prospects for the region''.
The survey showed Otago consumer confidence rose from 107.4
in December to 115.7 in March, but was still sitting below
the national average of 121.7, Mr Stephens said.
While drill ships or rigs may not be around the coast again
for a couple of years, shipborne hydrographic seismic
surveying work is still under way.
Anadarko's drill ship Noble Bob Douglas has now headed
overseas, but at present the seismic survey vessel Aquila
Explorer is still operating south east of Dunedin, on
behalf of Shell.
It is expected to take several more weeks to complete its
two-dimensional survey, within a 21,200sq m area, with
results not fully analysed for about a year.
In early January, Shell and its joint venture OMV and Mitsui
said they would drill an exploration well in the northeast
part of its Great South Basin licensed area, possibly in
early summer 2016.
Listed New Zealand Oil & Gas was awarded three new
offshore permits during the 2013 block offer, by Government
permitting agency New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals.
Aside from Taranaki, it has Toroa in the Great South
Basin/Canterbury Basin, where NZOG is partnered with Woodside
It has also been awarded the Galleon permit, next to its
existing Clipper interest, off the coast from Oamaru.
NZOG has recently said its spending on exploration and
evaluation was up significantly to $23.747 million, as it
expanded its portfolio and was involved in more exploration
activity, compared with a year ago.
While the exploration boost undercut profit for debt-free New
Zealand Oil and Gas, as at late February it retains a healthy
$164.2 million cash war chest.