Bridge Awarded Three Drilling Permits in New Zealand

Bridge Petroleum Ltd, a New Zealand exploration company with strong US connections, has been awarded three new permits, one offshore north Taranaki, one a shallow natural gas prospect in south Auckland, and a coal seam gas prospect in the Waikato area.

Bridge has been awarded PEP 38491 in offshore Taranaki north of New Plymouth in partnership with Transworld Exploration Ltd and Westech Energy New Zealand. Operator Bridge and Transworld will both hold 40% interests, and Westech 20%.

Ed Davies, executive director of Bridge, said that the PEP 38616 permit south of Auckland is targeting shallow gas prospects. Operator Bridge holds a 50% interest and Westech 50%.

This area is in the Waikato Basin north of the Huntly coal fields with the northern boundary the Manukau Harbour right to the western coast.

No modern era wells have been drilled in this area though two wells were drilled (the deepest 600 m) in the 1950s. A limited amount of seismic was shot in 1971.

Bridge has also been awarded PEP 38617 in the Waikato Basin immediately south of Hamilton. Operator Bridge, which again has a 50-50 partnership with Westech, is targeting coal seam gas.

Since the company's formation early in 2003 Bridge has moved to now hold nine exploration permits, eight of which it is the operator. Five permits are in onshore permits, one offshore and three in coal seam gas prospects.

Over the same time Bridge's partner Westech has built up its interests from five exploration permits to 14. Westech holds four permits on its own in the East Coast and Taranaki and one offshore East Coast permit in partnership with Tap Oil Ltd.