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Farm-Out In Preparation For Tuihu Drilling

Farm-Out In Preparation For Tuihu Drilling In Taranaki

New Plymouth, 5 September 2000,– Fletcher Challenge Energy announced this week that it will farmout a 20 percent share in the licence area containing the Tuihu prospect (PEP 38718, onshore Taranaki, New Zealand) to Origin Energy, in the lead-up to the drilling of the wildcat exploration well in mid-October.

This will leave Fletcher Challenge Energy with a 70 percent interest in the license area, of which it is the operator. The agreement gives Origin Energy a 20 percent participating interest in PEP 38718, and the option to earn a 25 percent participating interest in the adjacent licence PEP 38730. Fletcher Challenge Energy currently has a 100 percent interest in PEP 38730.

Chief Executive of Fletcher Challenge Energy, Greig Gailey, indicated that the farm-out is consistent with the company’s strategy to participate in a portfolio of exploration opportunities in a risk-spread manner. “We are committed to growth through exploration as well as acquisition,” he said. “The Tuihu well is an excellent prospect. Given the success of Rimu, this is proving to be a very exciting new play-type.”

Plans to drill Tuihu are well advanced with drilling expected to commence in mid-October. Parker Drilling’s Rig 188 has been contracted for the well and is currently undergoing modifications offshore, prior to being shipped to New Zealand. It is expected to arrive in New Zealand in early October and immediately be moved to the Tuihu well site, located 9km north east of the Tariki gas/condensate field. The vertical well will be drilled to at least 4370 metres. The primary reservoir objective of the well is the productive Tariki sandstone in the adjacent Tariki Field. Mean potential reserves for the prospect are estimated to be approximately 30 mmboe.

The farm-out to Origin Energy is subject to conclusion of formal documentation and subsequent regulatory authority approval. This is anticipated to occur before drilling commences on the Tuihu well.

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