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NZ Unveils Biggest Oil Exploration Round in 10 Yrs

07 November 2001 , 12:08516
The large size of the bidding round reflected the banking up of available acreage over the last 18 months to two years, Crown Minerals petroleum manager Clyde Bennett told Reuters.

The blocks are to be allocated by competitive staged work programme bidding, Crown Minerals said. Bids should be submitted by April 30, 2002.

The Taranaki basin covers a wide swathe along the west coast of New Zealand's North Island. In the year to July 2001, it produced 220 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas and 13 million barrels of oil.

Discoveries in the last three years included the offshore Maari and Pohokura fields and the onshore Rimu and Windsor fields - with Crown Minerals listing proven reserves in the four fields at 105 million barrels of oil and 1,004 bcf of gas.

An additional onshore field, Kauri, discovered in July alongside Rimu was not included in the reserves total.

Oil companies with interests in the Taranaki Basin include Royal Dutch/Shell Group , OMV , Swift Energy , Preussag Energie and privately-owned New Zealand firm Todd Petroleum.

Since 1999, exploration expenditure in the region has totalled NZ$400 million ($167.2 million) with 35 wells drilled, the government unit said.

"Recent discoveries, the irregular distribution of field sizes and the geological complexity of the basis, imply that the basin has great potential for future discoveries," it said.

Oil was first found in Taranaki in 1865 and total discovered reserves, including those already produced, were put at 364.6 million barrels of oil and 5,813.7 bcf of gas.

Over half of the oil and gas is in the offshore Maui field discovered in the 1960s and now nearing the end of its life.

Crown Minerals said 400 exploration and production wells have been drilled in the Taranaki Basin, which was moderately explored compared with other hydrocarbon regions in the world.



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