New Zealand Kicks Off New Round of Surveys

New Zealand Crown Minerals announced the start of the government's third seismic petroleum data survey.

The survey will acquire 2,200 km of 2D seismic data north of the Raukumara Peninsula, off the East Coast of the North Island, and a further 300 km off the southern Wairarapa Coast.

The survey is part of the government's efforts to acquire data under a $15 million fund established in 2004 to lift petroleum exploration in New Zealand. It will comprise two-dimensional seismic, gravity and magnetic surveying. Existing data shows both areas contain features likely to be of interest to exploration companies.

"The data will be offered freely to explorers to promote and encourage petroleum exploration activities in the hope that it will lead to the discovery of new petroleum reserves," said Crown Minerals' Petroleum Unit Manager, Mark Aliprantis Since 2004 Crown Minerals, the government agency responsible for the promoting and managing petroleum exploration activities, has successfully conducted two seismic data acquisition programs.

A 2005 Crown Minerals program led to Pogo Producing Co. being awarded an exploration permit covering 80 percent of an East Coast survey area. Pogo is currently undertaking its own survey to identify drillable targets.

In 2006, 3,160 km of 2D seismic data were acquired across the offshore Great South Basin. A bidding process is currently underway for exploration permits for this area, the results of which are expected to be announced in July.

"The levels of interest being shown by exploration companies in this government program is most encouraging," said Aliprantis. "We believe this program, coupled with changes to royalty rates and the tax treatment of exploration workers, is proving successful in raising interest in New Zealand as an exploration destination."

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