Anadarko relinquishes Pegasus basin permits off New Zealand

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. has relinquished its two frontier exploration permits in the Pegasus basin offshore the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island.

The company has held the permits that lie offshore Kaikoura and Wellington for 4 years.

Anadarko is believed to have changed its preferences and now wants to focus on its recently acquired deepwater Gulf of Mexico blocks as well as development of an LNG project in Mozambique.

The yet-to-be-drilled Pegasus basin no longer justifies further expenditure. Anadarko has already quit the deepwater Taranaki basin off the country’s west coast after an unsuccessful well.

However, the company has retained a foothold in New Zealand for the time being with its PEP 38264 permit in the offshore Canterbury basin in joint venture with Sydney-based Origin Energy Ltd.

A drill-or-relinquish decision for this permit is due next month, but the JV has asked the New Zealand government for a 1-year extension to 2018 to enable it to continue reprocessing seismic survey data. The JV drilled the Carrick-Caravel wildcat on the block in 2013-14.

Anadarko also still holds 25% interest in a frontier permit in the New Caledonia basin, which is a deepwater trough extension to the northwest of the Taranaki basin, but this too is under review.

The company’s move out of the Pegasus and Taranaki basins is a further blow for New Zealand following Statoil SA’s move out of the Northland basin last month. Rumors also are circulating that Royal Dutch Shell PLC, which holds areas in the Great South basin off the southern part of the South Island as well as with Anadarko in the New Caledonia basin, is bundling up its New Zealand businesses for sale.

Attention is now drawn to the country’s 2017 block offer in which the final areas to be gazetted are likely to be announced in March.

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