Todd to Drill First Well Without STOS

Todd Petroleum Mining Company Ltd is to drill its first well in almost 50 years without using Shell Todd Oil Services Ltd as operator.

Todd Energy chief executive Richard Tweedie said that Todd Petroleum Mining would be drilling the Patea East-1 well, in onshore Taranaki license PEP 38760, on its own.

Mr. Tweedie said Todd Energy had become sufficiently concerned about STOS's drilling costs to have recruited its own well engineering manager/drilling manager from overseas, New Zealander Andy McGregor.

McGregor had worked for a number of companies involved in the New Zealand exploration scene and had participated in the drilling of several onshore Taranaki wells in recent years.

Mr. Tweedie said Todd's first "stand-alone" well was scheduled to be drilled mid-year by the Parker Drilling 188 rig after it had finished the Patea West-1 well, which STOS would be drilling from PEP 38760 but deviating the well offshore into the more southerly adjacent PEP 38737 block.

Todd Energy believed the Patea prospect straddles the PEP 38737, 38760 and 38719 permits and appeared to be separated into eastern and western parts by a basement ridge.

Patea East-1 would be testing the shallow oil potential of the eastern part of this structure, with the target zone predicted to be found at a depth of about 1000-1100m.

Oil has already flowed in tests of the shallow Manutahi sandstones in some of Swift Energy New Zealand's Kauri wells in the adjacent PEP 38719 permit, to the west of PEP 38760.