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The string of unsuccessful offshore oil exploration wells continues, with the Whio-1 well to be plugged and abandoned, despite hopes it would find commercial quantities of hydrocarbons because of its proximity to the producing Maari oil and gas field.
Whio was regarded as highly prospective, but operator OMV and other partners in the well announced today it would be plugged and abandoned after encountering only sandstone throughout its total depth of 2,834 metres.
The drilling targeted prospects in Whio A sand and M2A sandstones, and the Moki, Mangahewa, Kaimiro and Farewell formations, several of which have proven to harbour hydrocarbons reserves at other locations.
Whio-1 was drilled by the semi-submersible drilling rig Kan Tan IV some 110 kilometres south-west of New Plymouth, and 4.5 kms from the Maari well-head platform.
The abandonment caps a disappointing series of outcomes from exploration both in highly prospective offshore Taranaki locations and at wildcat sites in deep water off Taranaki, North Cape, and the Canterbury Basin as part of a burst of oil exploration activity that began last summer and is expected to continue through into 2015.
Participants in Whio-1 were OMV (operator) at 30 percent, Cue Taranaki at 14 percent, Todd Exploration (35 percent), and Horizon Oil, 21 percent.