Swift Energy Forms Exploration JV in New Zealand
Swift Energy in conjunction with Mighty River Power, a state-owned New Zealand utility has entered into a series of farm-out agreements with MRP for 50% working interest in relation to Swift Energy's 2005 Tarata Thrust exploration program in New Zealand. The joint venture with MRP intends to drill three exploration prospects in 2005, the Goss and Trapper prospects located in Swift Energy's TAWN area and the Tawa prospect located in Swift Energy's Rimu/Kauri area. SENZ will be the operator. Under the terms of the farm-out agreements, MRP will provide the funding for the drilling of the three exploration wells to earn a 50% working interest in any commercial discoveries resulting from these prospects. Once MRP has earned its 50% interest, Swift Energy and MRP will equally share any future development costs subject to the terms of the agreements. Swift Energy will continue to maintain its 100% working interest in the existing producing horizons and facilities in both the TAWN and Rimu/Kauri areas.
Terry Swift, CEO of Swift Energy, commented, "The joint venture with Mighty River Power enhances our ability to carry forward the exploration of these Taranaki prospects. MRP is a strategic energy partner that understands and appreciates the importance of these oil and gas opportunities. We look forward to a successful venture that will test meaningful exploration targets in New Zealand's most prolific oil and gas basin."
Dr. Doug Heffernan, CEO of MRP, welcomed the partnership with Swift Energy. "We're delighted to be partnering with such an experienced high quality explorer as Swift Energy in what we anticipate will be the first of several gas exploration projects Mighty River Power will develop over the next few years. About 15% of New Zealand's current generation comes from thermal fuels. In addition, the demand for electricity is growing at around 2% or 150MW per year. We need to be looking for alternatives to the Maui supply now. This program with Swift Energy is consistent with our intent to secure multiple generation options to help meet the future electricity needs and demands of New Zealanders and our economy."
Mighty River Power is a New Zealand owned generator and retailer of energy providing up to 22% of New Zealand's total electricity demand to more than 300,000 business and domestic customers. Their major generation assets are based on Lake Taupo and nine dams on the Waikato River, supplemented by growing capabilities in geothermal generation, combined cycle generation and landfill methane generation.