Tap gears up Patriot for NZ program

The Ocean Patriot has arrived off Napier and is awaiting equipment and supplies before moving south to spud Tawatawa-1 in licence PEP 38333 for Aussie listed company Tap Oil and its American partner Westech Energy.

Support vessels Lady Caroline and Far Grip towed the semi-submersible rig through Cook Strait yesterday and Tap New Zealand manager Clyde Bennett confirmed the Diamond Offshore Drilling rig had arrived several nautical miles off Napier early this morning.

“While we are pleased the rig has arrived, it won’t be drilling for a while as it still has to load some supplies and equipment, including drill pipe. We expect to spud Tawatawa either late this month or early next,” Bennett told EnergyReview.Net from Napier.

Though Bennett declined to say anymore about Tawatawa-1, due to be drilled 20km northeast of Castle Point, industry commentators are welcoming the offshore East Coast program.

“I am really looking forward to this well; it’s time for the basin to be opened as there are several significant prospects there that need exploring,” one told ERN.

Operator Tap has already said both Tawatawa - a four-way dip closure of up to 40 sqkm - and the Galleon South prospect in PEP 38259, have the potential to contain 2 tcf of gas and perhaps 200 million barrels of oil-condensate.

Tap is hoping to drill Galleon South-1, together with Austral Pacific Energy, off Otago after Tawatawa-1.