Tap to Drill Large Potential Barque Prospect Off Oamaru

Tap Oil Ltd has switched targets for its first Canterbury Basin well, Barque-1, to a large deepwater structure containing potentially 5 to 6 trillion cubic feet of gas and several hundred million barrels of condensate or oil.

Tap, operator of the PEP 38259 permit which mostly lies off the coast of Otago, earlier planned to target the shallower Galleon South prospect north of Dunedin.

The Barque-1 well, scheduled for drilling in the second half of the year, will be the first well to be drilled in South Island offshore waters in two decades. Timing of the well will depend on rig availability.

Announcing the change of target in the company's fourth quarter report, Tap says the Barque prospect is larger than Galleon South and is interpreted by the joint venture to have larger potential volumes of oil and/or gas. Barque is located about 50 km offshore from Oamaru in 850 m of water.

The Barque prospect is located 55 km north of the Galleon-1 well, drilled in 1985, which flowed 2240 barrels of condensate per day and approximately 10 million cubic feet a day of gas on test. Despite Galleon-1's high liquid to gas ratio the well was judged to be uneconomic at the time.

Tap says planning and farmout activities for Barque are continuing.

Other large structures have also been mapped in the PEP 38259 permit, the company says.