Widespread Energy Applies for Permit Covering NZ Oil Seeps

Widespread Energy Ltd. (WEN) last week submitted an application for an exclusive permit (PEP 38526) to explore for oil and gas resources within a 288-square-kilometer area inland from Greymouth on the west coast of New Zealand's South Island.

The application is being evaluated by New Zealand's Ministry of Economic Development officials under provisions of the Minerals Program for Petroleum. These provisions allow WEN the priority right to the permit subject to satisfying requirements for technical and financial resources to undertake the tendered work program. If these requirements are satisfied, the permit could be granted within the next six months.

Should PEP 38526 be granted, WEN will embark on a program of work that will revive over a century of investigations into the Kotuku Dome, a substantial anticlinal structure in the Arnold River valley north of Lake Brunner that is characterized by arguably the most prolific and sustained system of surface oil seepage in New Zealand. The most comprehensive modern campaign was conducted by New Zealand Oil and Gas Ltd in the 1980s, including seismic surveys and well drilling, the results of which will be an important part of the basis for WEN's investigations.

With current strong oil prices, improved technology and infrastructure, and new geological concepts developed by WEN's advisers GeoSphere Ltd, the Kotuku exploration permit will provide a promising and New Zealand-based cornerstone asset for WEN.