NZ beckons Norwegians

NEW Zealand has reportedly lured Statoil to splurge on some frontier exploration , with the Norwegian company signing up to take a 30% stake in the deepwater Pegasus Basin off the east coast of the lower North Island from Australia’s OMV.

Haydn Black


The basin stretches from off the Wellington and Wairarapa coasts and is almost entirely unexplored.

The Pegasus farm-in is subject to regulatory approval.

As holder of a 70% stake in the permit, OMV will remain the operator.

"OMV and Statoil will work together on the exploration programme including geological and geophysical studies, as well as seismic acquisition over the coming years," OMV NZ's managing director Peter Zeilinger said.

"The work will provide information necessary to decide, in 2021, if a well commitment should be made in the permit.

"OMV is excited with our first partnership with Statoil in New Zealand and we intend to build on the good existing relationships that we have with Statoil globally."

The NZ government says the offshore Pegasus and adjacent East Coast basins are considered among New Zealand's most exciting frontier areas for oil, gas, and for gas hydrates.

OMV gained a 15-year exploration licence under PEP 57073 in the New Zealand government's 2014 block offer, a year after Statoil picked up some acreage in the 2013 block offer with Chevron Corporation.

US oiler Anadarko has been in the Pegasus basin since 2012, having secured PEP 54858 and 54861, which together cover some

Seismic was shot in 2014, and at the time Anadarko was unsure if the basin would have oil potential.

The announcement comes at a time when offshore drilling has ground to a halt in NZ, Shell has flagged quitting the country after more than 100 years, and there has been no new offshore discovery since the Tui Area fields were found by AWE almost a decade ago.


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