Indo-Pacific Energy plans Taranaki basin drilling

Indo-Pacific Energy Ltd., Vancouver, BC, said Monday that a farmout agreement recently signed with Texas Petroleum Investment Co. (TPIC), Houston, will provide funding for exploration wells to be drilled in the onshore region of the Taranaki basin in New Zealand. Terms of the agreement call for TPIC to fund the Ratapiko-1 exploration well, which will be drilled on Permit PEP 38723 in November. TPIC also will fund a second exploration well on another prospect on the permit.


Indo-Pacific Energy Ltd., Vancouver, BC, said Monday that a farmout agreement recently signed with Texas Petroleum Investment Co. (TPIC), Houston, will provide funding for exploration wells to be drilled in the onshore region of the Taranaki basin in New Zealand.

Terms of the agreement call for TPIC to fund the Ratapiko-1 exploration well, which will be drilled on Permit PEP 38723 in November. TPIC also will fund a second exploration well on another prospect on the permit, to be drilled during the next 2 years.

In return for these outlays, TPIC will be assigned a 55% working interest in PEP 38723, with Indo-Pacific retaining 36% and Gondwana Energy Ltd. 9%.

The Ratapiko-1 well will be drilled to 5,000 ft to test a seismically defined trap within the Mount Messenger sandstones. These are the same sandstones that hold oil in the Ngatoro and Kaimiro producing oil fields, a few miles west of Ratapiko-1. Indo-Pacific is a partial owner of Ngatoro field, which produces 1,000 b/d of oil.

PEP 38723 is a lightly drilled, 20,000-acre area that includes several commercial oil and gas fields. Within 15 miles of PEP 38723, there are eight producing fields with combined original proven reserves in excess of 200 million boe. Four of these fields immediately adjoin PEP 38723.

In addition, Swift Energy NZ Ltd.'s 1999 Rimu oil discovery is located 25 miles to the south, and the Royal Dutch/Shell Group-Fletcher Challenge Energy Ltd. giant Pohokura gas-condensate find was made earlier this year only 20 miles to the north.

Indo-Pacific plans further wells in its various permits in the onshore Taranaki following Ratapiko-1 and expects to be making further drilling announcements in the coming months. The firm also said that Phillips Petroleum Inc.-operator of Timor Sea Permit ZOCA 96-16, in which Indo-Pacific is a partner-doesn't expect to begin drilling the Coleraine-1 well until the second week of September. The rig needed, the Ocean General semisubmersible rig, is being used for extended drilling operations on a previous well.

Since the well plan for Coleraine-1 allows at least 4 weeks to drill the well to 11,000 ft, the outcome likely won't be available until late October. Indo-Pacific has a 10% interest in Coleraine-1 and the ZOCA 96-16 permit, fully carried by Phillips through the cost of drilling and testing Coleraine-1.

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