Cue outlines four new wells for Maari field next year

No capital cost estimates or output projections accompany the concept plans.

BUSINESSDESK: Cue Energy has unveiled plans to drill four new wells next year to increase oil production from Taranaki's Maari offshore field.

The four wells and a new water injector well are on the agenda as the partners in the field assess 3-D seismic survey information covering not only Maari but the highly prospective adjoining Whio field, which has no producing wells at present.

The concept plans for Maari were presented to the New Zealand oil and gas conference yesterday by the field operator OMV's senior production geologist Carey Mills, and posted on the ASX and NZX platforms, where Cue is listed.

However, they are silent on the potential for new exploration wells in the Whio or Te Whatu structures, both of which are also judged to be highly prospective and are also the subject of 3-D seismic interpretation.

No capital cost estimates or output projections accompany the concept plans.

Cue indicated its intention to conduct a 2013 drilling campaign to increase recoveries and tap discovered volumes.

The programme will see OMV move a rig into position in November, drill the first well in the Mangahewa Sands part of the Maari structure, followed by an extended reach drilled well into the same sands in the adjacent Manaia structure.

A third new production well, a cycle two producer, is planned for the Moki Sands reservoir in the Maari structure, and an additional Maari side track producer, to complete the programme by mid-October 2014.

A water injection improvement will also be drilled.

Maari's 10% partner Horizon has previously said the field's recoverable reserves could rise to between 80 million and 100 million barrels, from the current 60 million barrels.

Cue has a 5% stake in the field, which has so far produced 19.2 million barrels of oil. Todd Energy holds another 16%. Field operator OMV, of Austria, holds 69%.

Cue shares were unchanged on the NZX today at 19 cents.