Origin Extends Canterbury Permit over Carrack-Caravel Prospects

Origin Energy has been awarded a 940 sq km extension to one of its Canterbury Basin permits PEP 38262 to fully cover the large deepwater prospects Carrack and Caravel about 50 km offshore from Dunedin.

The extension will occupy part of the southern Canterbury Basin acreage relinquished by neighboring PEP 38259 operator Australian Worldwide Exploration which recently reduced its permit size to 1,658 sq km, about 25% of its former size.

Origin Energy recently published some preliminary estimates of its exploration prospects including a number in New Zealand. These estimates indicate that the Carrack and Caravel structures could together contain 700 million barrels of oil or as much as 2,800 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

The 200 sq km Carrack structure and the 80 sq km Caravel structures immediately to the north, lie in 1,000 m deep water together stretching for 50 km along the edge of the continental shelf.

Rob Willink, executive general manager exploration for Origin, said earlier this year that his company was looking for international partners with expertise in operating in deep waters.

Origin Energy plans to make a commitment to drill by the third quarter of this year, though drilling is not likely until late 2009 or 2010 due to the acute shortage of available deepwater rigs around the world.

Willink said the seismic data obtained by Origin over Caravel and Carrack is almost identical to that over the Galleon-1 well (about 30 km north west of Caravel) where in 1985 BP flowed gas containing high condensate levels, though the field was declared uncommercial at the time.

AWE's work program in PEP 38259 for the next few years includes further studies over the Galleon, Galleon south and Galleon south west complex as well as over the large deepwater Barque structure.