TAG Oil Adds 2 Exploration Permits to its Upstream Assets in New Zealand

Canada's TAG Oil Ltd. announced Thursday that New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals has awarded the Company 100 percent interest in two new onshore Taranaki Basin permits: Petroleum Exploration Permit 57065 (Sidewinder North) and Petroleum Exploration Permit 57063 (Waiiti).

Both permits, which add a combined 36,781 acres to TAG’s Taranaki Basin exploration portfolio, are situated in a prolific oil and gas production fairway in close proximity to producing oil and gas fields. Together with the Company’s existing permits, TAG now operates 10 exploration and production permits in the Taranaki Basin, and a total of 16 permits including a 40 percent interest in shallow water offshore Taranaki as well as interests in the East Coast and Canterbury Basins.

This new acreage is strategic to TAG while also being highly complementary to TAG’s existing producing operations, production infrastructure and pipeline network, enabling the Company to commercialize future wells in an expeditious manner. More importantly, TAG’s new acreage, which has existing 2D and 3D seismic coverage, expands the scope and potential size of the Company’s successful Mt. Messenger and Urenui Formation drilling program, as well as providing potential for additional deep, high-impact leads that can be analysed over coming years.

The Sidewinder North acreage (14,726 acres) borders and likely extends TAG’s known Sidewinder oil and gas discovery play area as the permit contains the SuppleJack-1 oil and gas discovery made by TAG in 2006, providing an indication of the future follow on discovery potential within this acreage.

The Waiiti permit (22,055 acres), situated in the northern area of the Taranaki Basin, offers the Company the opportunity to explore for both shallow Miocene oil and deep Eocene condensate-rich gas. A prior operator encountered significant elevated gas and oil shows while drilling the historical Pukearuhe-1 well within this new TAG Permit. Waiiti is an intriguing area of the Taranaki Basin in close proximity to the successful Pohokura (offshore) and Mangahewa (onshore) producing fields directly to the west of TAG’s new acreage. The geology of this northern area of the basin is interpreted to have many similarities to the Manutahi/Kauri oil and gas fields in the south part of the basin.

TAG CEO Garth Johnson commented, “We are pleased that New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals offers opportunities on an annual basis, allowing for TAG to add new acreage to the Company’s exploration portfolio. This new acreage falls within TAG’s production back yard in the main Taranaki producing fairway, providing us with the opportunity to expand our core production area.” Johnson further commented. “Low initial expenditure of less than $86,590 (CAD 100,000) per permit over the first year of the 10-year permit tenure allows TAG to cost effectively add to drilling inventory in coming years within the Company’s core production area.”

Other companies that were recently awarded acreage in New Zealand include US energy giant Chevron, Norway's Statoil, and the Indian government-controlled ONGC Videsh.


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