The Solander Basin is one of the West Southland sub-basins and lies just south of Fiordland. The last well to be drilled in the basin was Solander-1 in 1985. The seismic data was acquired by the ship Pacific Titan, owned by Multiwave Geophysical of Norway. The work for L&M in its 4,450-square-kilometer PEP 38228 was the final act in the vessel's multi-company seismic campaign in New Zealand waters.
Pacific Titan has spent 5 months acquiring approximately 10,000 kilometers of seismic for nine operators over five offshore basins as the drive to accelerate exploration in areas outside of the Taranaki Basin increases. The campaign covered permits in the Taranaki, East Coast, Canterbury, Great South, and Solander basins. The largest single survey was the 3,300-kilometer Great South Basin acquired for the Crown Minerals survey: DUN06.
To date, L&M has reprocessed and reinterpreted 3,000 kilometers of seismic data from earlier surveys. Four large prospects and numerous leads were identified, and the recent survey has been designed to enhance some of the larger targets prior to drilling, L&M said.
The PEP 38228 permit lies in water depths of 50 to 1,200 meters and covers part of the Solander Basin, a major tectonic feature with up to 7,500 meters of Cretaceous and Tertiary sediments. According to New Zealand Crown Minerals, L&M is seeking a partner to farmout a majority interest in and operatorship of the permit. According to an L&M document, the company contends that three of its Solander prospects each have a potential recoverable resource of more than 100 million barrels.
L&M also holds other acreage in onshore western Southland. It operates two onshore areas PEP 38226 and 38230 covering parts of the Waiau and Te Anau Basins where seismic surveys and drilling programs are in progress.
The first of two oil and gas exploration wells committed to in PEP 38226, Sharp Ridge-1, was drilled in February this year. Sharp Ridge-1 was abandoned with oil and gas shows in the Beaumont Formation coal measure sands. The second well is planned to be drilled before the end of Novemeber 2006.
The work program also calls for the drilling of a number of coal seam gas wells in the same PEP 38226.
L&M Group holds a number of coal seam gas permits throughout the country, including one PEP 38220 at the Ohai coal fields, where the Beaumont Formation sub-bituminous coal measure forms a major coal resource. L&M last year estimated this permit contained 90-110 PJ of coal seam gas, so far the largest gas resource of any of its permits.
To the east of Ohai at Winton, L&M holds another coal seam gas permit PEP 38235 where it has drilled six exploration holes and where preliminary analysis indicates gas presence in the sub-bituminous Mako coal measures.
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