Todd Energy To Drill Eight Wells in Eight Months

Todd Energy has confirmed its biggest and busiest exploration program yet, involving eight wells in eight months. Todd Energy, New Zealand's largest locally-owned oil and gas producer, will be contributing NZ $26 million to the total estimated cost of NZ $113 million involved in drilling the onshore and offshore wells, all in the Taranaki Basin.

Chief executive Richard Tweedie said Todd Energy was involved in eight wells with participating interests ranging from 10% to 100%.

"This drilling program is the largest in our 47 years of oil and gas exploration in New Zealand and is recognition of the urgent need to discover further oil and gas reserves to replace the rapidly depleting Maui field".

Mr. Tweedie said its first two wells are now being drilled, the deviated Pohokura South-01 well from onshore with the Parker Drilling 188 rig and the Pohokura-3 offshore well with the Ocean Bounty semisubmersible rig.

After Pohokura-3, the Ocean Bounty would move north to off Raglan Harbour, to drill the Karewa-1 well at the north of the Taranaki Basin in PEP 38602 for Conoco, Japan's Inpex Petroleum and Todd. The partners would target a Mangaa sands prospect with some similarities to the offshore Maari oil discovery and would be drilling into a late Miocene target, at a depth of about 2000 meters.

The Ocean Bounty would then move south to drill the Maari-2 appraisal well in PEP 38413 for Austrian firm OMV Petroleum and Todd. This well would be drilled on the southern flank of the field and was aimed at increasing the level of certainty about the size of the field's recoverable reserves in the main oil reservoir, the Miocene-aged Moki formation. A successful result would mean detailed planning for the development of the field could start.

Todd Energy and joint partner Shell New Zealand were also to drill two wells in the first quarter of 2003 in the onshore Taranaki Kapuni field, which could continue to produce beyond 2020. One well Kapuni-16, would appraise and develop the productive K1 reservoirs on the eastern flank of the field. If successful it would add substantial new gas-condensate reserves.

The other well at Kapuni will be Ngarewa-1, an exploration well targeting an amplitude anomaly in the shallow Miocene-aged Mt Messenger sandstones immediately southeast of the deeper producing Kapuni formation. The seismic anomaly was believed to represent an oil (or gas) bearing zone at about 1800m depth. If successful, the well could discover up to 11 million barrels of new oil reserves.

Shell and Todd will also drill the Patea West-1 well in PEP 38737 in early 2003. It would be a deviated well drilled from the adjacent onshore license PEP 38760 up to 1.5km offshore and into the large, shallow oil prospect known as Patea. Todd believes this prospect straddles three permits, the offshore PEP 38737, the onshore PEP 38760, and Swift Energy’s PEP 38719 where oil had already flowed in tests of the shallow Manutahi sandstones in some of the Kauri prospect wells. The Patea West location was interpreted to be on the same structural closure, but updip of these wells.

Todd plans to drill the onshore Patea East-1 well in the company's 100% owned PEP 38760 permit, which it was awarded earlier this year. The Patea prospect appeared to be separated into eastern and western parts by a subsurface basement ridge and that Patea East-1 would test the eastern part of this structure.

The target zone is predicted to be encountered at a depth of between 1000 meters and 1100 meters, with the prospect having the potential to hold some tens of millions of barrels of oil.