Tap to move out of onshore Taranaki

FOLLOWING a disappointing exploration campaign in onshore Taranaki permits PEP 38745 and 38765, Tap Oil is planning to dispose of all its onshore Taranaki assets. But the company has taken a 30% stake in offshore permit PEP 38496.
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In the last quarter, none of Tap's three Taranaki wells have been commercially successful.

Richmond-1 in PEP 38745 found no hydrocarbons.

In PEP 38765, Supplejack South-1 found a minor oil discovery while Supplejack South-1A delivered gas shows but failed to flow on test.

Tap said in its latest quarterly report that is negotiating the sale of its onshore Taranaki assets with "interested parties".

One of Tap's partners in PEP 38745, TAG Oil, has bought out the previous operator Bridge Petroleum and has taken 100% stakes in two other onshore Taranaki permits. It remains to be seen whether Tap and TAG do a deal on Tap's equity in that permit.

At Supplejack South, TAG took sole risk of the prospect after Tap and Austal Pacific Energy withdrew from the project but retained their equity in the rest of the PEP 38765 lease.

TAG is presently testing Supplejack South-1A, which targeted a 'sweet spot' roughly 700m from Supplejack-1 and is expected to announce results of that program soon.

Despite its coolness towards onshore Taranaki, Tap has taken 30% equity in offshore permit PEP 38496, a 500 square kilometre lease that lies just north of the Pohukura gas field.

Its partner is Finder Exploration (70%). The joint venture is reprocessing existing seismic data to delineate drillable prospects.

Tap also has a 40% stake in the Cutter prospect off the east coast of New Zealand's South Island, which is targeting 50 to 80 million barrels of recoverable oil.

Tap is the operator in this permit (PEP 38259) and Cutter-1 is scheduled for drilling in the third quarter of 2006 in 75m of water about 21km off the north Otago coast.

The other partners in the lease include Australian Worldwide Exploration, Beach Petroleum and private Perth company Claire Energy.