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australian gas and oil firms eye nz

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    The Age > Home > Breaking News > Article
    Australian gas and oil firms eye NZ
    March 31, 2004 - 8:05AM

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    Three Australian companies prospecting for gas and oil 100km south-east of Bluff believe the area holds potential for a commercial gas field at least equal in size to Maui.

    Joint venture partners Bounty Oil, Hardman Resources and Albatross Energy, all Perth-based companies, plan to sink an exploratory well by the end of this year or early next year.

    The companies were awarded a five-year exploration and prospecting permit for 13,654 square kilometres of the Great South Basin in August 2001.

    The prospecting area includes the Toroa well, drilled in 1976 by Hunt International Petroleum but never tested.

    Bounty managing director Tom Fontaine said the companies were excited and optimistic about the probability of striking gas and oil.

    "We already know there's gas there, also there's potentially several billion barrels of oil."

    The companies had reviewed and reinterpreted 6200km of seismic data collected previously and were 90 per cent through the seismic mapping of another 2000km, scheduled to be completed in about a month.

    Processing and analysing that information was expected to take another four months.



    Planning was already under way for the exploratory well, with drilling expected to take about a month.

    Bounty estimates the probable recoverable gas reserve for its main prospect to be at least 2.83 billion cubic metres - possibly as much as 14.15 billion cubic metres.

    It was "most likely" to be about 8.49 billion cubic metres, about the same as when the Maui gas field was first discovered off the Taranaki coast, Mr Fontaine said.

    "Our data shows that it should contain at least as much but probably more. Where it gets really exciting is if we actually find something," he said.

    "I'm fairly confident. It's really a timing issue in our mind - and a funding issue."

    Seismic mapping was costing between $2.3 million and $3.4 million. Drilling was expected to cost about $23 million.

    Additional partners were being sought for the venture. Already British-based Electro Silica, which has key projects in Oman and Mongolia, had joined.

    ©2003 AAP

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