Swift Energy Plans Over NZ$60m of Exploration in 2006

Swift Energy Company has announced it plans to spend US$300 million to US$325 million in total capital expenditures in 2006, of which 15% would be spent on its New Zealand activities.

The New Zealand capital budget would amount to at least US$45 million (approximately NZ$66 million).

In the 2006 capital expenditure report, Swift Energy said it's efforts in New Zealand this year will focus on further delineation and development of the Kauri and Manutahi sands.

Swift Energy expects to drill two to four wells targeting the intermediate depth Kauri sands and two to four wells in the shallow Manutahi sand.

Swift Energy plans to continue with its Tarata thrust exploration activity and is currently drilling the Goss and Trapper exploration wells in partnership with Mighty River Power.

The company also plans to drill the Kowhai exploration well in PEP 38742 near Waitara later this year. Swift Energy operates the permit in a joint venture with Ballance Agri-Nutrients Ltd, a fertilizer company which uses natural gas to make urea fertilizer at Kapuni.

Additional seismic data is to be acquired, both onshore and in the offshore Kaheru block in PEP 38495, south-west of the company's onshore Kauri mining permit.

About 85% of the Houston-based company's budget is targeted for US domestic expenditure, primarily in its South Louisiana region.

Swift Energy has increased its capex spending in Taranaki each year over the last few few years. In 2004 it budgeted for about NZ$40 million and a year ago announced it would spend about NZ$55 million for 2005. However last year New Zealand capital spending accounted for 20% of the company's capital spending — a bigger share than this year's 15%.

In a presentation to analysts Swift says that the company has drilled 42% of the wells drilled in New Zealand in the three years to 2005. Swift lists 23 of the wells as development wells with only four exploration wells drilled over this period — all in 2005.