Seismic Study Shows New Zealand Offshore Field Could be Huge

Seismic data recently acquired by Westech Energy indicates that a gas field offshore the Wairarapa coast of New Zealand could rival the giant Maui field offshore Taranaki. Westech Energy conducted initial tests just outside the 12-mile limit east of Castlepoint and extending north of Cape Turnagain. At this stage, the seismic data indicates the presence of a gas field, however the company is look for partners to participate in exploration.

With the Maui field running out faster than expected, the search is on for a new gas source. Petroleum Exploration Association of New Zealand executive director Mike Patrick said the news of the potential find is exciting. The Maui field was the only time a field like it had been found in New Zealand. "Maui was big in world standards." Dr. Patrick cautioned against premature celebrations. "All that's happened is they have seismic testing. You don't know until you drill and find it, but from the data it looks quite promising."

Dr. Patrick said the economic impact on Wairarapa would be immense if gas is found. "If it's as big as Maui, and they can produce as much as Maui, then they might build an electricity plant in Wairarapa, or a methanol plant." He said all that infrastructure, and its associated income, could come to Wairarapa if the gas field is there.