The first new well for a decade in the Maui gasfield block has been spudded-in off the Taranaki coast.
Drilling at the adjacent Ruru prospecting block began on Sunday 40km off the coast of South Taranaki.
The geological formation of the well straddles the Maui and Ruru blocks, but is deeper than the gasfield, which is due to run out in about 10 years, according to industry estimates.
Shell Todd Oil Services, which runs the Maui field, says the drill ship Noble Discoverer will sink a single well. The company says this indicates its confidence in Ruru's potential.
The site was chosen because of reworked seismic data and proximity to Maui's existing infrastructure.