Greymouth Wins Mining Permit for NZ's Moturoa Oil Field

A mining permit for the historic Moturoa oil field in and around the port area of New Plymouth city has been awarded to the joint venture between Greymouth Petroleum and Ngati Te Whiti Hapu joint venture.

The 53 sq km PMP 50509 is about one third onshore and two thirds offshore. Greymouth said in a media release that increasing subsurface pressures in recent years has re-activated petroleum production in the Moturoa field area.

The work program divides the permit into three working areas. A central area covers almost two thirds of the permit from about 2 km inland out to about 3 km from the New Plymouth shore. A northern area goes out approximately a further 3 km from shore and lies all offshore. The third southeastern area is mostly onshore in New Plymouth city in the south east corner of the permit.

The mining permit is for 40 years and initially covers a combination of production from the central area and further exploration in the northern and southeastern areas.

The work program says initial production of oil will be from the Moturoa-A and Republic New Plymouth-4 wells.

In the first three years Greymouth is to begin consenting and construction of both a central processing plant and the Moturoa-B reclamation or equivalent drilling site.

A minimum of 24 sq km of marine 3D or equivalent 2D seismic data is to be acquired in the next three years to link the northern and central areas.

Greymouth has to commit to drill a well in the northern area by the end of the third year. By the end of the fourth year, the operator has to begin consenting and design of an offshore Moturoa-C platform.

In the southeastern area at least 25 km of seismic data is to be acquired by the end of the fourth year plus a commitment to drill a well.

Greymouth and its minority joint venture partner Ngati Te Whiti Hapu said the Republic New Plymouth-4 well, drilled in 1976, was brought back into oil production in 2000.

Cumulative production from RNP-4 totalled 5,000 bbls over the 7 year period, whereas the Moturoa-6 well drilled in 2007 produced at rates of up to 200 barrels of oil per day in the short period of well testing that followed.

Grant Knuckey of the Ngati Te Whiti Hapu (Society Inc.) board of trustees said they look forward to producing oil at Ngamotu Beach and to bringing economic benefits to the New Plymouth district.

Oil was first discovered at Moturoa oil field in 1866 and was one of the first to produce oil anywhere in the world. Over the next 130 years, 65 Moturoa wells were drilled, from which 250,000 barrels of oil were produced.