Exploration/Development news briefs, Aug. 31

Westech Energy � GEL Exploration � Shell Todd Oil Services

Westech Energy (NZ) Ltd. has spudded the Windsor-1 well in Taranaki, adjacent to the Ngatoro and Kaimiro mining licences on PEP 38732. The well will be followed by the Maketawa-1 well to the east of Ngatoro, on PEP 38733. Westech Pres. Ed Davies said both wells are targeting the Mount Messenger-Moki sandstones and will be drilled to a depth of about 2,000 m.

Houston-based GEL Exploration Inc. has suspended the Crusader-1 well in PEP 38721 on the outskirts of New Plymouth, New Zealand, pending a possible sidetrack updip in the Mt Messenger formation. GEL took a 100% interest in PEP 38721 in July 1997.

New Zealand plans to collect about 10,000 km of 2D seismic data in deep waters, starting this year. The data will provide the scientific background to verify the boundaries of New Zealand�s continental shelf claim as part of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The New Zealand continental shelf project leader Jerome Sheppard of Land Information New Zealand, says a tender has been put out, and he hopes to have a ship working in New Zealand water from about October through February.

The Maui partners have abandoned the horizontal section of one of the two wells being drilled from the Maui B platform. Maui field operator Shell Todd Oil Services Ltd. recommended the abandonment of the MB-7 horizontal section in July due to continuing technical problems, including the loss of a 520-m-long drilling assembly. A vertical sidetrack was then started from the upper section of the MB-7 wellbore and has reached 3,765 m toward the 4,000 m target depth in the Kapuni D sands. The partners are considering whether to continue with a horizontal section of the MB-6 well.

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