ConocoPhillips Relinquishes Expl. Permit in New Zealand

A consortium led by ConocoPhillips has relinquished the PEP 38602 exploration license off the west coast of New Zealand's North Island. The company had held the permit for the past ten years. The permit covers approximately 48,865 square kilometers and is regarded has one of New Zealand's most prospective areas and has geology similar to the Taranaki Basin in the south. Only two exploration wells have been drilled in the basin. However, no commercial hydrocarbons have been found yet.

Associate Energy Minister Harry Duynhoven said a small portion of the permit area around the Kawera appraisal well had been signed over to Todd Petroleum. ConocoPhillips was the operator of the permit with a 56.67% interest Todd petroleum held a 10% interest and Inpex Northland Ltd held the other 33.33%. The rest of the area will come up for allocation again in a bidding round, probably in July or August.