Todd in $113m drilling scheme

A $113 million oil and gas drilling programme was unveiled by New Zealand energy company Todd Energy.
Todd will participate in drilling eight wells in the Taranaki Basin during the next eight months. It will spend $26 million in what will be the company’s largest programme of its 47-year history. Other explorers, including Shell, Preussag Energie, Austria’s OMV, Conoco from the US and the Japanese firm Inpex, will be spending a further $87 million on their explorations.
Most oil and gas exploratory drilling activities, being so risky, are joint ventures. The same companies often take varying stakes at different sites. Not all the eight wells in the programme will be looking for oil and gas. Some, such as two at the Pohokura field, are “appraisal wells” – drilled to ascertain the nature of a field already known to be there. Announcement of the ambitious drilling programme will hearten those energy analysts who have warned of the risk of looming power shortages when the massive Maui natural gas field runs down. Maui gas is used in thermal power stations to generate electricity and was heavily drawn on last year, when hydro lake levels were low. Latest seismic projections have revealed that Maui gas will run out two years sooner than expected, in 2007 rather than 2009. Offshore drilling will begin at the end of this month, when semi-submersible rig Ocean Bounty arrives in Taranaki from Australia. The Ocean Bounty will drill three wells, including an appraisal well at the Maari oil field.
Todd is also drilling another two wells at the Kapuni gas and condensate field, of which it owns half. Kapuni had produced gas and condensate for 34 years and is expected to continue to do so beyond 2020 at current production rates. The nearby Mangahewa field, yet to begin producing, had reserves of about 97 billion cubic feet of gas in January last year.

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