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Significant prospecting permit granted

11 April 2001 Media Statement

Significant prospecting permit granted

The Norwegian-based TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company has been granted a petroleum prospecting permit over a large area of previously unexplored deepwater Taranaki Basin.

Associate Minister of Energy Paul Swain said New Zealand has come of age as a place to invest exploration dollars for the international petroleum community.

The Minister also said there will be a Petroleum Exploration bidding round over the deepwater Taranaki region in early 2002.

The TGS-NOPEC prospecting permit covers approximately 59,336 square kilometres in water depths ranging from 500 m at the edge of the Taranaki shelf down to 2000 m at the permit’s westernmost point.

"This project is a good sign for the future of petroleum exploration in New Zealand," Paul Swain said.

"Most of the world’s large oil discoveries recently have been found in deepwater ocean areas."

Under the prospecting permit terms, TGS-NOPEC will acquire 6800 km of high quality seismic data that will assist in the definition of the structural development of the region and better define the size and nature of petroleum traps in one of New Zealand’s frontier petroleum provinces.

The data will form the basis of an international marketing programme aimed at promoting the petroleum potential of the deepwater Taranaki region and the upcoming bidding round.

"Oil exploration activity in New Zealand is currently at the highest level ever with 24 wells already announced for drilling in 2001 with more wells likely," Paul Swain said.

"Oil companies, are estimated to spend approximately $130 million this year in drilling for oil and gas, with another $50 million in related exploration and development expenditure.

“New Zealand is increasingly viewed as a very attractive target for petroleum exploration and an excellent country in which to invest," Paul Swain said.
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