Click on map to enlarge
Shell is to drill for gas and oil in the Great South
Basin off the coast of Dunedin.
Great South Basin joint-venture parties Shell New Zealand,
OMV New Zealand and Mitsui E&P Australia will drill an
exploration well in the PEP 50119 block (see map).
The western edge of the permit area is about 100km off
Dunedin and it stretches down to the south west of Stewart
Island and the area borders a marine mammal sanctuary off the
the Catlins in Southland.
The drilling programme will most likely target the early 2016
Environmental protesters disrupted a Dunedin meeting to
discuss the plans last year and today's announcement comes
amid Greenpeace protest at deep water exploration well being
drilled by American explorer Anadarko off the Taranaki coast.
Drilling an exploratory well could cost up to $200 million
and would follow seismic surveys of the wider basin costing
close to $100 million. Shell New Zealand is the operator in
the joint venture and its partners are OMV NZ and Mitsui
Explorers have targeted the Great South Basin in the past
with eight wells were drilled between 1976 and 1984, and
hydrocarbons recorded in four.
However, at the time water depth and the isolation made gas
reserves in one well "non-commercial" and mechanical problems
meant that strong oil shows in another were not properly
In 2007 an earthquake brought traces of crude oil to the
surface on Stewart Island.
"We are very grateful to the communities of Otago and
Southland for the way in which they have engaged with us so
far,'' Shell country chairman Rob Jager said.
"We will ensure that open and honest engagement with all
interested parties continues as the project matures towards
the drilling campaign.''
- Full story tomorrow's ODT