NZOG's first well outside NZ to spud in late January

Plant at NZOG's Kupe field in Taranaki

New Zealand Oil & Gas's pursuit of a more diversified global portfolio will take an important step with the spudding of the Parit Minyak-2 well onshore in Sumatra, Indonesia, in a little under a fortnight.

NZOG has a 22.5 percent interest in the Kisaran block, in the prolifically productive central Sumatran region. The planned well, to which NZOG will contribute $US6.5 million in the initial phase, is to explore an undeveloped oil discovery made in 2006, as well as additional zones an earlier well did not touch.

A second well, Parit Minyak-3, is scheduled after construction of an access road.

NZOG has interests in three Sumatran exploration areas, and is also developing interests in Tunisia as part of a strategy to make the company less dependent on New Zealand finds after relatively unsuccessful local exploration failed to turn up replacements to its interests in the producing Tui and Kupe fields.

However, its New Zealand interests remain extensive, and include two new offshore Taranaki exploration licences won in the block offer tender round, results of which were announced late last year.

NZOG is working on drilling rig needs for a 2013-14 summer drilling campaign, with intentions to drill in the relatively shallow Kaheru prospect, the deeper Kakapo licence area and the Matuku prospect in the south-west Taranaki.

Both jack-up and semi-submersible rig options are under consideration, with Matuku operator OMV announcing last month that the fully refurbished Kan Tan-IV semi-submersible rig has been secured for drilling in the third quarter of this year. NZOG holds a 12.5 percent interest in Matuku.

Elsewhere, Texas-based deep sea exploration expert Anadarko confirmed last week it is still on track to bring a brand-new deep-sea rig, the Noble Bob Douglas, to New Zealand waters over next summer for up to three exploration wells, starting in its deepwater Taranaki prospect and then moving to others off the Canterbury coast.

A spokeswoman for Shell says the company is continuing to prepare to drill exploration wells in the Great South Basin, but not before 2014-15.

Shell continues to examine options for the Ruru prospect, an extension of the Maui oil and gas field, where drilling was abandoned in April 2011 after a storm damaged the rig in use at the time.

(BusinessDesk)

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