Two new Canadian oil and gas explorers have appeared in New Zealand, taking a 965sq km onshore licence area in Hawke's Bay in what appears to be the first outcome from the government's new "block offer" policy.
Marauder Resources East Coast has won the exploration licence for Petroleum Exploration Permit 53806 in a joint venture with Canadian Overseas Petroleum to explore "unconventional" shales in the Whangai formation in the central Hawke's Bay.
The licence area sits between two others being explored by fellow Canadian TAG Oil, near Gisborne in the southern Hawke's Bay, both of which have prompted opposition from local environmental groups who fear TAG and its Texan partner, Apache, plan to use hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", to unlock hydrocarbons held in shale formations.
Marauder and COP are Calgary-based and junior players in global oil and gas exploration. Marauder has interests already in Canada, the Middle East and the Gulf of Aden, while COP's interests to date have been in west Africa and the North Sea.
In a statement issued in Canada in November 2, COP says Marauder will operate the licence for the first year, after which COP will assume ownership for the remainder of the initial five-year licence period.
Both are listed on Toronto Stock Exchange, as are TAG and another Canadian entrant to the local market, NZ Energy Corp, which has onshore Taranaki and East Coast interests.
"The East Coast Basin onshore New Zealand contains a number of large oil and gas accumulation targets focusing on unconventional resource plays within the Paleocene-to-Cretaceous aged Whangai and Waipawa shales," COP says in a statement to the TSX.
"Offsetting permit holders in the basin include TAG Oil and NZ Energy, both of which have had independent third-party evaluators assign shale oil resource potential of 12.6 and 20.9 billion barrels original oil in place, respectively."
COP plans to commission a third-party engineering study as a first step assessing potential in its licence area, where the Whangai formations look most promising.
The government began a new policy of offering specified exploration blocks this year. The offer round closed recently and the official agency, New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals, has not yet announced outcomes.
This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags
Most listened to
- Wynyard: Shareholders Association John Hawkins - shareholders learning a pretty hard lesson
- Lance Wiggs on who's to blame for the Wynyard collapse
- Century 21 boss pleads for a pause on more mortgage lending restrictions
- ‘Idea private sector would provide decent, affordable housing a myth from colonial period on’ – Big Smoke author Ben Schrader
- BNZ's Jason Wong says the consistent message from the US Fed about a likely December cut is pushing the USD up