Anadarko insists it remains in the hunt for natural gas
off Otago's coast, despite saying its deep-water test well is
to be plugged and abandoned.
Company spokesman Alan Seay confirmed the move to the
Otago Daily Times late yesterday, while maintaining it
did not mean the company's search for hydrocarbons off the
coast had failed.
''You generally do that with exploration wells, even if you
discover something, because you go back and you drill new
''Plugged and abandoned is what usually happens.''
The company would have to wait for months for the results of
detailed laboratory testing before confirming what, if
anything, had been found by the test drilling operation, he
There had been ''shows'' of oil and gas, but the analysis
would determine their significance, and it was too soon to
say if signs were promising, he said.
''What we have retrieved from the well is a great deal of
information. What we have to do now is analyse all that to
come to conclusions about what may be there.
''All of those sorts of questions are going to take us months
The decision to abandon the well was expected to be detailed
later today in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange
by Origin Energy, Anadarko's partner in the search, Mr Seay
His comments yesterday came hours after Greenpeace New
Zealand claimed to have leaked information showing Anadarko's
test well had unearthed no sign of oil off the Otago coast.
Greenpeace New Zealand campaigner Steve Abel told the
ODT he could not divulge details of his information,
to protect the source, and would only say technical drilling
data indicated a ''dry well''.
He said it was ''not 100% clear'' whether the information
ruled out the presence of a natural gas find as well, or just
oil, but believed the results ''wouldn't look good'' for
''The key next step is to get the information from Anadarko
... the ball's in their court, really,'' he said.
Mr Seay said he had ''no idea'' what Greenpeace based its
claim on, whether it was accurate, or even if such
He reiterated the company expected to find natural gas, not
oil, and the absence of oil - if true - did not necessarily
mean there was no natural gas to be found in the basin.
''Hydrocarbons can take many forms - oil, gas and in-between,
condensate. Those are the sorts of questions we will seek to
answer over the next few months.''
Pro Gas Otago spokesman Andrew Whiley, a Dunedin city
councillor, felt it was encouraging that the drillers
remained on-site for days, at a cost of about $1.2 million a
day, after the well's depth was reached, and he had heard
there were early signs of hydrocarbons.
''If they felt there wasn't anything to be found, they
would've already pulled up and would've already left,'' he
Oil Free Otago spokeswoman Niamh O'Flynn welcomed news the
well was to be plugged and abandoned, and urged Anadarko to
stay away ''regardless of what they find''.
It was reported last month Anadarko had failed to find
commercial quantities of oil or gas after drilling a
deep-water test well off Taranaki.
Mr Seay said yesterday that a ''water-bearing'' well had also
generated significant volumes of useful data, which would
also be analysed and could help shape future exploration in
It was too soon to say whether Dunedin's test well could also
be considered ''water-bearing'', he said.