OMV grabs new offshore NZ blocks

AUSTRIAN major OMV has been awarded 100% equity in a new deepwater exploration permit, as well as a minority stake in an Australian Worldwide Exploration-operated lease. Both blocks are off the west coast of New Zealand's North Island, close to OMV's existing Taranaki Basin assets.

The company has a 100% interest in the PEP 381200 permit for a term of five years, starting from September 1.

OMV said in a press release that work on the block, which has an average water depth of 1000m, will begin early next year with a 2D seismic survey.

The new permit is located near OMV’s existing New Zealand assets, the Shell-operated Pohokura and Maui gas fields and the OMV-operated Maari oil field, said OMV head of exploration and production Helmut Langanger.

“Our new exploration permit strengthens our presence in New Zealand, where further growth is scheduled,” he said.

In the PEP 38401 block, OMV has taken a 31.25% stake with AWE taking 50% and Todd Petroleum taking 18.75%.

The partners are planning to soon undertake an 800km 2D seismic program over the permit's Hoki prospect.

OMV has recently increased its New Zealand staff and is in partnership with operator Australian Worldwide Exploration in several offshore Taranaki permits.

The company also has a 50% stake in two offshore Northland blocks with Origin Energy.

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