Exploratory drilling is to start soon in land and offshore portions of New Zealand's East Coast basin, whose first discovery came in 1998.
The joint venture led by Westech Energy New Zealand Ltd. and Orion Exploration Ltd. is to drill its first offshore well early in 2001 south of Hawke Bay on the east coast of the north island. Tawatawa-1, 12 km south of Cape Turnagain in PEP 38333, is to go to 1,700 m in 200 m of water to evaluate Miocene sands.
New Zealand Crown Minerals, Wellington, said the drilling location is 12 km northeast of Titihaoa-1, a wildcat Amoco (NZ) Exploration drilled in 1994 targeting a different structure off the Wairarapa coast.
Meanwhile, Pancontinental Oil & Gas NL, Perth, has joined the Westech-Orion group for the redrilling of the Waitaria gas prospect onshore in the East Coast basin.
Pancontinental said it will earn a 7.5% interest in the permit by contributing 10% of the expected $1.37 million cost of the Waitaria 2 well now due to spud in January. Pancontinental would pay 7.5% of testing and completion costs.
Waitaria 1 failed to reach the objective mid-Miocene age Tunanui sandstone when drilled in 1997 because of mechanical problems through a high pressure zone. Despite high mud weights, the well recorded background gas levels up to 1%. Ethane and butane readings were consistently above 100 ppm.
Westech said the well, drilled to 1,372 m, was forced to stop less than 30 m above the target Tunanui sand. Waitaria 2 will be drilled next to the Waitaria 1 to 1,829 m.
The prospect has been delineated by 2D seismic data and mapped as a four-way dip closure that covers 6 sq km. Vertical closure is interpreted to be 700 m, and potential reserves of the prospect are estimated at 360 bcf of gas.
Gas produced from Waitaria likely would go to the city of Gisborne.
Interests in the well will be Westech 27.5%, Pancontinental 7.5%, Orion Ltd. 27.5%, Indo-Pacific Energy (NZ) Ltd. 25%, Sun Resources NL 7.5%, and Everest Energy Inc. 5%.
Following Waitaria-2 the group is to drill two wells near Wairoa in PEP 38329. They are Tuhara-2 on an onshore-offshore prospect and the Kauhauroa-6 appraisal well.