TAG Oil reported that the Sidewinder-3 exploration well is confirmed as a light oil and gas discovery, the third discovery made in TAG Oil's 100%-controlled Petroleum Exploration Permit 38748 in the onshore Taranaki Basin, North Island, New Zealand, and the Company's fourth new oil and gas discovery in five months.
The Sidewinder-3 exploration well was drilled to a total depth of 2160 meters (7087 feet), targeting a large anomaly identified on 3-D seismic, approximately 1.1 Km to the south of the recent Sidewinder-1 and Sidewinder-2 discoveries. Sidewinder-3 encountered 15.4 meters (50 feet) of net oil-and-gas-bearing sandstones in the primary Sidewinder zone, including "free oil" observed over the shakers during the drilling operation.
"This is our third successful Sidewinder well, with each new well helping us to more accurately calibrate our 3-D data set, and further understand the geology in this lightly-explored acreage." Drew Cadenhead, TAG Oil COO commented. "Of particular interest, the Sidewinder-3 well has shown the Mt. Messenger Formation reservoir sands extend significantly to the south of the original Sidewinder discoveries, and hydrocarbons appear to have migrated into all potentially producing sands encountered to date. The size and scope of the discovery area is potentially much larger than originally anticipated, and bodes well for both near term development and future exploration."
The three Sidewinder discovery wells are part of TAG Oil's ongoing exploration drilling campaign that commenced in Petroleum Exploration Permit 38748 in February 2011 following the Sidewinder-1 discovery. Sidewinder-1 flow tested at stabilized rates of 8.5 million cubic feet of gas plus 44 barrels of oil per day for a total of 1461 barrels of oil equivalent ("BOE") per day with no water.
Garth Johnson, TAG Oil CEO commented. "Once flow testing of all new Sidewinder wells is complete, we can better assess the magnitude of these discoveries. Given the encouraging results achieved to date we are expanding the throughput capabilities of the Sidewinder Production Station to accommodate more production than we initially anticipated. Our immediate focus remains on building cash flow and reserves associated with these discoveries."
TAG Oil will immediately proceed to drill the Sidewinder-4 exploration well, which will also target the Mt. Messenger Formation sandstones approximately 1 Km to the east of the Sidewinder-1 well.