31 Aug 2013

Test drilling for gas off Otago in January

2:19 pm on 31 August 2013

Anadarko, a Texan oil company, is to drill a test well for gas and oil off the coast of Otago in January.

The deep-water well will be drilled 60km offshore from Taiaroa Head, near Dunedin, at the bottom of the Canterbury Basin.

The $US100 million well has been delayed for the past two summers for lack of a rig.

New Zealand manager Alan Seay said Anadarko has chartered a ship to drill one well off the Otago Peninsula from mid-January after it completes drilling off Taranaki.

Mr Seay said the company is targeting large but unproven gas fields.

Andarko has lodged a full environmental impact assessment for the well with the Government and is waiting for approval.

Critics fear a well blowout like that following the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico three years ago.

Mr Seay said that is very unlikely.