Hydrocarbon Exploration New Zealand: A Beginning or the End?
In April OMV, with partners OMV Sapura and Mitsui, announced the success of the Toutouwai-1 well in the Taranaki Basin Block 60093 offshore New Zealand’s North Island. The well reached 4,317m in April 2020, in 130m water depth and preliminary results are encouraging, with hydrocarbon pay measured in Cretaceous sandstones.
The well is north-west of the producing Maui gas field, where Cretaceous Rakopi Formation coal measures charge North Cape Formation sandstones. Both oil and gas are reported at Toutouwai-1, and the small Tui area fields nearby have light oil in the Upper Cretaceous and Paleocene Kapuni Formation, sourced by organic shales. It will be interesting to see if gas, oil or both will be tested at the Toutouwai-1 well.
The COSL Prospector was due to spud Maui-8 after Toutouwai-1. However, exploration drilling is classified as non-essential due to Covid-19 restrictions, so the rig is understood to have been stood down. Environmental campaigners are hailing this as the end of exploration offshore New Zealand, whilst the operating group will have plans to study development possibilities at the new discovery.