Second Oil Prospect at Maari to be Drilled Horizon Oil Says

Crown Minerals

The Maari oil field partners plan to drill the adjoining Manaia oil prospect at the same time as the Maari production wells are being sunk in 2007-8 in offshore Taranaki says Horizon Oil, one of partners.

Brent Emmett, chief executive officer of Sydney-based Horizon which is a 10% partner in Maari, told a Sydney "Excellence in Upstream Energy" conference recently that both of the "sister structures" could have pay above and below the main oil-bearing Moki sands.

The Manaia oil prospect, just to the west of the Maari oil field, is planned to be drilled either before or after the jackup rig Ensco 107 drills at Maari in late 2007-early 2008.

Mr. Emmett said the Maari field had estimated 2p reserves of 50 to 56 million barrels of oil but if all plays were developed, reserves could rise to as much as 70 million barrels.

He said the Maari project was now 17% completed. One of the latest developments was that the heavy lift vessel Mighty Servant had been engaged to bring the wellhead platform to the site in November 2007.

In other Maari news, Louisiana-based company Superior Energy Services Inc said in a release, that it had entered a contract with operator OMV New Zealand Ltd to supply a work over rig for the offshore wellhead platform. Superior also said its coiled tubing division and its on-site accommodations subsidiary, HB Rentals, will also provide services for the Maari project.

In a release by Maari operator OMV, Helmut Langanger the Austrian-based company's executive board member responsible for exploration and production said that the project is on track for delivering first oil in early 2008.

Mr. Langanger said that once the wellhead platform is installed, the development wells - five oil production and three water injection wells - will be drilled using the Ensco 107 jackup.

Oil production would commence with the first couple of wells while the remainder of the development wells are being drilled, he said.