Ocean Bounty To Drill Two New Zealand Wells

The Diamond Offshore semisubmersible, Ocean Bounty, is coming to New Zealand to drill at least two wells offshore Northland and Taranaki.

Pohokura operator Shell Todd Oil Services has confirmed the rig is expected in Taranaki waters by late September to drill the Pohokura North appraisal well in license PEP 38459.

ConocoPhillips has confirmed it will use the Ocean Bounty after the Pohokura program to drill its second well in the offshore Northland permit PEP 38602.

There are also reports that the rig will drill at least one Maari appraisal well in license PEP 38413 after the Conoco well, as there is an option in the Ocean Bounty contract to allow the rig to be used in the Maari prospect (PEP 38413) south of the Maui field.

The aim of the Pohokura North well is to ascertain the northern extent of the gas-condensate field and to further evaluate the geological and petrophysical properties in this region of the field.

STOS is also about to start the Pohokura South-01 well from an onshore site near the Methanex Motunui complex to test the southern limit of the field.

Conoco New Zealand drilling manager Steve Butler said Conoco (UK) Ltd, the operator in PEP38602, had contracted the Ocean Bounty rig for a one-well program.

The presently unnamed well was due to spud sometime in November in a prospect known as E-1 to the south of the permit, after the PEP 38459 partners had finished drilling the Pohokura North well. The well should take about 30 or so days to drill, though target depths or formations had not yet been revealed, he said.

Conoco's first well in the Northland Basin permit, Wakanui-1 was drilled off the Kaipara Harbour during 1999 in almost 1500m of water. However, the E-1 prospect was situated in shallower water and just 26 nautical miles offshore.

Conoco (UK) Ltd acts as PEP 38602 operator, with a 56.67% interest, while Maui, Kapuni and Pohokura partner Todd Petroleum Mining holds a 10% stake and Japan's Inpex Corporation, a 33.33% interest. The Ocean Bounty is presently drilling the Casino-1 well for Santos and Strike Oil in Bass Strait, Australia.