OMV Gets Approval for Maari Oilfield Development

OMV says that the Maari joint venture, in which its wholly owned subsidiary OMV New Zealand Ltd holds a 69% interest, has been granted a petroleum mining permit (PMP 38160) for the Maari oil field development.

OMV New Zealand as the operator together with its partners Todd Maari Ltd. (16%), Horizon Oil International Ltd - a wholly owned subsidiary of Horizon Oil Limited HZN:AU (10%), and Cue Taranaki Pty Ltd (5%), expect first oil for March/April 2008.

Steve Hounsell, Managing Director of OMV New Zealand Ltd stated: "Following final investment decision by the joint venturers a few weeks ago the grant of the petroleum mining permit by the New Zealand Government will allow the joint venture to make the necessary commitments to deliver the project. We expect to be able to award the development contracts very soon. "

Commenting on the award of the permit, the Ministry of Economic Development said that Maari was further proof of New Zealand's potential as an oil producing region.

Maari joint venture partners and the Government worked cooperatively to enable the mining permit to be awarded only shortly after the project was approved by the joint venturer. The permit covers the Maari field area of approximately 34 sq km. It grants the joint venturers the rights to conduct mining operations for 22 years, giving sufficient time to recover the P50 field reserves currently estimated to be about 50 million barrels. All the major development work scopes have been tendered and tender evaluation is progressing towards completion. The development contracts are expected to be awarded within the next few weeks for first oil in March/April 2008.

The Maari Field was discovered in 1983 about 80 km off the South Taranaki coast. OMV New Zealand Ltd took over operatorship of petroleum exploration permit 38413 in late 2002. This exploration permit also contains the Manaia discovery, approximately 10 km from Maari. The joint venture intends to apply for an appraisal extension over Manaia to retain this discovery, following the exploration permit expiry in late December 2005.