Anadarko to abandon test well

Alan Seay.
Alan Seay.
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 wells.

''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 said.

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 to answer.''

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 said.

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 either.

''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 information existed.

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 said.

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 the area.

It was too soon to say whether Dunedin's test well could also be considered ''water-bearing'', he said.


Add a Comment