New Zealand Energy Corp. (NZEC or the Company) reported Friday that the Company has been awarded a 100 percent interest in the East Cape Permit. The East Cape Permit covers approximately 1,048,221 onshore acres (4,242 square kilometers) in the Raukumara region of the East Coast Basin, on the northeast tip of New Zealand's North Island. The East Coast Basin is considered highly prospective with significant resource potential from both conventional Miocene sands and unconventional oil shales. There are more than 300 onshore oil or natural gas seeps in the East Coast Basin. Many have been sourced to two oil shale packages that are rich in total organic carbon and locally naturally fractured: the Waipawa and Whangai shale formations.
NZEC now controls 2,036,642 acres (8,242 square kilometers) across four permits in the East Coast Basin. A resource estimate for NZEC's East Coast Basin permits, completed by Deloitte LLP with an effective date Feb. 1, 2011, outlined prospective resources of 604.5 million barrels of oil.
NZEC will be the first company to explore the East Cape Permit since the mid-1980s. The Company's work program for the permit includes technical studies, reprocessing 90 miles (145 kilometers) of 2D seismic and acquiring 24 miles (40 kilometers) of new 2D seismic data, and drilling an exploration well by 2Q 2016. NZEC has met with iwi groups from the permit area and looks forward to continuing to build these relationships as exploration proceeds.
"With the backdrop of heightened interest in oil shales worldwide, NZEC now controls the largest exploration portfolio in New Zealand's East Coast Basin, with more than 2 million acres from which to explore and unlock the potential of these highly prospective oil shale packages," said John Proust, CEO of NZEC. "NZEC's technical work over the last three years has given us a much greater understanding of the East Coast Basin. We look forward to advancing our oil shale exploration strategy in 2014."
Additional plans for the East Coast Basin include drilling exploration wells on both the Castlepoint and Wairoa permits in 2014. The Company will focus its exploration efforts on the East Cape, Castlepoint and Wairoa permits, and will make a decision regarding potential relinquishment of the Ranui Permit before year-end 2013.
NZEC is actively looking for a partner to participate in the funding, exploration and development of its East Coast Basin permits.
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