The acreage expansion is designed to secure additional prospective acreage along the emerging oil fairway in the western Taranaki Basin. The expansion incorporates the Te Whatu prospect, situated approximately 15 kilometers south of the Pukeko-1 well location (Pukeko-1 is to be drilled as the next well in AWE's current drilling program in New Zealand).
Commenting on the expanded interest, AWE's managing director, Mr. Bruce Phillips said:
"Exploration activity in the western Taranaki Basin over the last 12 months has highlighted the oil potential of the area, particularly after the discovery of the Tui oil field, and more recently the Amokura oil field.
"In isolation, the acreage expansion announced today is not a major addition to AWE's interests in New Zealand. However it is another piece in the jig-saw puzzle to secure exploration and production rights in the emerging oil trend we have identified in the region.
"AWE has worked systematically over the last year to secure the most prospective acreage covering the oil fairway, to the extent that we are now the dominant net acreage holder along the trend. This has been achieved through two acreage expansions to PEP38460, where AWE holds 20% equity, and the acquisition of a 75% interest in PEP38483. (where AWE has also been appointed the Operator).
Participants in PEP 38460 are AWE with 20%; New Zealand Overseas Petroleum as operator with 45%; Mitsui with 12.5%; Stewart Petroleum with 12.5% and WM Petroleum with the remaining 10%.
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