Production boom lifts Tap

Perth-based explorer Tap Oil NL has had a stellar six months reporting record earnings and operating cash flows for the period to December.

Tap's operating revenue of $63 million for the period was a result of record liquids production and continued robust oil prices, with total production of 1.60 mmboe net to Tap for the six months, compared to 1.81 mmboe for the previous 12 months.

The record liquids production was achieved despite temporary disruptions to the Woollybutt oil field operations and some interruptions to Harriet area production.

Tap's reported net profit of $23.2m, after exploration write-downs of $1.3m (after tax) and unrealized foreign exchange losses of $2.1m (after tax), was almost as high as the $24.0m recorded for the full year to June.

Strong cashflows are expected to continue from both the Harriet fields and Woollybutt, with numerous near-term production increments in progress, including the Gudrun oil and Linda gas-condensate fields, and the Bambra oil-gas field.

Tap is budgeting to spend around $20 million on developments in 2004, including the Western Australian Linda-3 well and Varanus Island gas plant upgrades.

Tap also said its planned exploration expenditure for 2004 would be around $25 million. It has a number of large prospects in the

Carnarvon Basin of Western Australia and in New Zealand and planned to drill around 20 wells, about 13 in Australia and up to 7 wells in New Zealand.

Up to six of the kiwi wells would be shallow Miocene-aged Mt Messenger wells in onshore Taranaki, plus Galleon South-1 in offshore Canterbury Basin licence PEP 38259 subject to rig availability.

The Austral Pacific Energy-operated Kahili gas-condensate production project, onshore Taranaki, is expected to be commissioned by June, with initial flow rates expected to be around 5TJ per day.

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