Oil giant Anadarko has this week been granted a five-year
extension for its exploration permit in the southern sector
of the Canterbury Basin, north of Dunedin.
The extension, by Government permitting agency New Zealand
Petroleum & Minerals, is not an indication of an
increasing likelihood of more drilling, which will be decided
by the Houston-based company by October.
More ship-borne seismic data collection may yet precede any
decision on a second southern drilling programme.
Analysis of core samples from Anadarko's $120 million
drilling programme in March, 60km north of Dunedin at the
Caraval prospect off Oamaru, had not yet been completed,
Anadarko New Zealand corporate affairs spokesman Alan Seay
said when contacted yesterday.
''We're making good progress with the analysis. We captured
significant new data for both Caraval and Romney [off
Taranaki] to help in determining drilling,'' he said.
While the Caraval test well was capped and abandoned, there
had been ''shows'' of oil and gas but not in commercially
viable quantities, as with Romney.
''If we advance to the next step, there will probably be more
seismic data [ship surveying] to determine if there will be
additional drilling required,'' he said of further Canterbury
Mr Seay said it was likely a decision would be made by
October, and if seismic surveying went ahead, it could be in
the more stable ''seasonal weather window'' around January to
March next year.
He understood there were seismic survey vessels available
during that period, which were undertaking other work around
Anadarko had not made any plans to ''pencil in'' a drillship
or platform for a possible drilling programme, he said.
During its January to March programmes, Anadarko used the
drillship Noble Bob Douglas for test wells in both Taranaki
and off the Otago coast, at a cost of more than $400 million
It is the prospect of drilling in deep water which has most
concerned environmentalists, following the Deepwater Horizon
disaster and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and later the
effects of the oil spill from the grounded container ship
Rena in New Zealand.
Off Otago, the test well was in 1100m of water, drilling
about 1700m below the seabed to 2800m, while in Taranaki, the
drilling was at depths of 1500m, to a total depth 4600m.