AWE Plans Extra Well, Permits in Taranaki

Sydney-based E&P oil company Australian Worldwide Exploration (AWE) plans to increase its strong involvement in offshore Taranaki oil exploration by drilling an additional exploration well, Kopuwai-1, while adding two new permits to its extensive acreage, New Zealand Crown Minerals reported.

AWE said in its March quarterly report that it may drill Kopuwai-1, which is less than 15 kilometers north of its Tui oil field as part of its current Taranaki drilling campaign. This would be subject to joint venture approval and availability of an offshore rig.

The Kopuwai prospect is a large fault block closure in PEP 38 482 which already has a sea-floor survey completed over the potential drill site.

If AWE does go ahead in its current drill campaign this will mean it will drill four more exploration wells after it completes the four Tui oil field production wells about June.

AWE is operator and holds a 40% stake in PEP38 482 along with OMV (25%), Shell (20%) and Todd (15%).

AWE has also been granted two new permits. One of these PEP 38 1202, to the north of the company's current acreage, contains an area of 1925 square kilometers and includes the Paua lead. AWE holds a 100% interest in the permit.

The work program for PEP 38 1202 will focus on the Mangaa interval as well as the Paua lead. In addition to reprocessing previous seismic data AWE will acquire 700 kilometers of 2D seismic data in the first two years of the permit. One well is to be drilled within three years.

The other new permit, PEP 38 401, was formed when the partners in PEP 38 481 decided to split off the northwest corner of PEP 38 481 through a partial surrender.

The new PEP 38 401 has AWE as operator of the permit with a 50% interest, and OMV holds 31.25% and Todd 18.75%.

AWE said in its March quarter report that an 800-kilometer seismic survey is planned to be acquired in PEP 38 401 during the second quarter of 2007.

AWE said the West Cape prospect at the southern end of PEP 38 481, scheduled to be drilled in the September quarter, has the potential to discover in excess of 100 million barrels of oil.

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