Indo-Pacific IPO to fund 10 wells

Soon-to-list explorer Indo-Pacific Energy says it plans to drill up to 10 wells during the next two years, as well as using funds from its initial public offering to help develop the Kahili and Cheal discoveries.

Last Friday the Wellington-headquartered company confirmed rumours that it was to seeking to list on the New Zealand Stock Exchange, saying it wanted to raise up to $NZ8 million to help further oil and gas exploration and development, largely in the onshore and near-shore Taranaki Basin.

Today it released its share-float prospectus which identifies a two-year drilling program of up to 10 wells. That was expected to include at least four wells in the first year and up to six wells in year two, with Indo-Pacific holding an average 30% participatory interest in each well.

Indo-Pacific chief executive Dave Bennett said the IPO offered investors the opportunity to invest in a New Zealand-based exploration and production company, something not possible for the past few years, perhaps not since the days of New Zealand Petroleum.

"This offer is especially timely, given the country's on-going energy supply situation. New Zealand needs to find more oil and gas for its energy needs, and Indo-Pacific Energy is in a good position to contribute to this demand."

Bennett told energy journalists in Taranaki last Thursday that Indo-Pacific's plans included drilling three deep-gas wells targeting prospects so good they could perhaps solve New Zealand's critical gas supply situation.

The onshore Cardiff (PEP 38738), Akama (PEP 38 753) and offshore Orca and Humpback (PEP 480) structures had the potential to contain several tcf of gas.

Indo-Pacific planned to redrill the Cheal-2 well of 1995 and to test it. If results were as good, or better, than the recently completed Cheal-1 test, then the field could be developed by mid-2004. An exploratory well, probably Cheal-3, was also planned for PEP 38738, as well as the drilling of Cardiff-1, subject to farm-out.

A Kahili-2 production well was planned for PEP 38736, as well as two exploration wells in PEP 38748, one in PEP 38741 and another in PEP 38716. Other onshore Taranaki wells that could be drilled included one into the Akama lead, in PEP 38753, and Onaero North in PEP 38746.

The exciting offshore Orca prospect could be drilled next August or September, probably by the Ocean Bounty after it had finished drilling in PEP 38460 for New Zealand Oil and Gas and partners.

Bennett said the capital raised would not only be used for exploration, but also to help bring the Kahili and Cheal fields into production.

"The funding will, in addition, support the negotiation of further oil and gas sales agreements, allow the ongoing evaluation of existing areas for further drilling opportunities, and provide for the acquisition of further exploration permits.

"This is an exciting opportunity to invest in New Zealand's energy future. With our expertise, joint-venture partnerships and acreage positions, we are well placed to succeed in the oil and gas exploration and production sector," he added.