Anadarko's drill decision by October

Drilling ship Noble Bob Douglas at sea. Photo supplied.
Drilling ship Noble Bob Douglas at sea. Photo supplied.
Anadarko expects that by October it will be in a position to make a decision on whether it will undertake further test drilling off the Otago coast, or not.

With sample analysis expected to take several more months to complete, speculation in Dunedin by camps for and against test drilling has been rife.

Using the drill ship Noble Bob Douglas, Anadarko completed a $120 million month-long test well about 60km north of Dunedin in March, but after drilling to the targeted 1700m below the seabed, it capped and abandoned the well, without finding commercial quantities of gas or oil.

In May, Anadarko applied to government permitting agency New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals to extend its permit in the Canterbury Basin, which would have expired in June.

Anadarko's New Zealand corporate affairs manager, Alan Seay, was contacted yesterday and said analysis was still continuing, and he was not aware of Anadarko having briefed any parties in Dunedin on the analysis.

''We're at the stage of still working on the data, from the March drilling. We'll probably know by about October,'' Mr Seay said.

Immediately after capping the well in March, Mr Seay said there had been some ''shows'' of oil and gas, but analysis would have to determine their significance.

''There's been no firm conclusion [from analysis]. But there's nothing to suggest we're not interested in coming back,'' Mr Seay said yesterday.

Expectations from exploration drillers in the southern end of the Canterbury Basin and Great South Basin have been to find natural gas, with any oil shows thought to be likely to be in small amounts of condensate, or light oil.

- Exploration permit 38264 for the Canterbury Basin, covering 17,492sq km, is for 10-years and expires in November 2016. Permit holders are Anadarko New Zealand Company, 45% and the operator, Discover Exploration Canterbury NZ B.V, 10% and Origin Energy Resources NZ Ltd 45%; the latter a listed Australian energy company.

- simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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