New Zealand-focused exploration company Trans-Orient Petroleum Ltd. announced Thursday that the Company has completed the first-stage 487m (1,600 ft) section of the Boar Hill-1 wildcat well located in the East Coast Basin of New Zealand's North Island. Boar Hill-1 was drilled in two stages in order to provide critical information for the deeper section of the Boar Hill-1 well, and to avoid any potentially problematic surface drilling.
The shallow section of the well has provided some encouraging preliminary data, as drill cuttings "head gas" analysis indicated progressively more oil-rich readings as the well penetrated the Oligocene strata, reaching full depth in the Weber Formation.
The Boar Hill structure is located within the 100% controlled, 1.6 million-acre Petroleum Exploration Permit 38349, and was originally defined by the New Zealand Geological Survey in 1938. These early geological mapping expeditions also noted the existence of oil and gas seeps in the general area of these structures. In 2008, Trans-Orient acquired and re-interpreted a series of modern 2-D seismic lines over the Boar Hill structure, confirming sub-surface correlation to the earlier NZGS surface mapping. The Boar Hill-1 well is located at the crestal peak of the defined structure.
Planning is now underway to drill the main Boar Hill-1 well to fully penetrate the underlying Waipawa Black Shale and Whangai Formation fractured oil-shale source-rocks at an anticipated depth of 1600m (5,250 ft).
Trans-Orient further reports that planning is underway to drill three shallow test wells in order to gather stratigraphic core data in and around the historical Waitangi Hill shallow oil discovery. Drilling in the early part of the last century (1912) reported production of high-quality (500 API) crude oil from a depth of approximately 200m (650 ft). During recent Trans-Orient fieldwork, live oil was observed at the surface in the Waitangi-1 well bore. This oil was analyzed and results indicate the oil was generated from the underlying Whangai Formation, which is both a source-rock and fractured shale reservoir target. The results of these wells will provide further data to assess the potential of both conventional and unconventional exploration in this area. Waitangi Hill is located in the 530,000-acre Petroleum Exploration Permit 38348 in the East Coast Basin and is 100% controlled by Trans-Orient.
Two North American-based engineering firms have independently reviewed the conventional and unconventional potential of Trans-Orient's properties. In reviewing these properties, Sproule International Ltd. and AJM Petroleum Consultants recognized the Waipawa Black Shale and Whangai Formations as viable shale source-rocks, rich in Total Organic Carbon, that have generated and continue generating oil and gas within these fractured shale formations.
Trans-Orient also reports that its announced business combination with Taranaki Basin producer and explorer TAG Oil Ltd., whereby Trans-Orient will become a 100%-controlled subsidiary of TAG, is on schedule to complete by December 15, 2009. TAG is a Taranaki Basin, New Zealand focused producing company that is acquiring a 100% interest in the Cheal oil discovery, exploration acreage and production facilities in the Taranaki Basin, New Zealand.
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