NZ govt utility teams with US explorer to drill for gas

NEW Zealand government utility Mighty River Power is stretching its exploration muscles and extending its strategic alliance with Swift Energy by taking a 50% chunk of Swift’s new offshore Taranaki licence PEP 38495.

The Houston-headquartered company today announced that its subsidiary Swift Energy New Zealand had farmed-out a 50% participating interest in a joint geologic study in the 973 square kilometre licence it was awarded last April. PEP 38495 contains the promising Kaheru prospect.

After analysing current geologic and geophysical data relating to the offshore permit, the joint venture plans to acquire more 3D seismic data, the company said.

"The strategic partnership with Mighty River Power provides for further expansion of our activities in New Zealand,” said chief executive Terry Swift.

“It is our hope that this joint venture will develop additional meaningful exploration targets in New Zealand’s most prolific oil and gas basin."

MRP chief executive Doug Heffernan said Mighty River Power was pleased to add this permit to the portfolio of opportunities it was pursuing to broaden its range of potential fuel options.

In March the electricity generator-wholesaler-retailer said it was joining forces with Swift Energy to explore for deep gas in onshore Taranaki and investigate other gas-related opportunities.

Swift Energy, the operator of the joint venture, is soon to spud Tawa-1 – the first of three wells due to be drilled by the two companies this year as part of the Tarata Thrust exploration program in onshore Taranaki.

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