Anadarko: New Zealand blocks could hold 150 million barrels of oil


Anadarko: New Zealand blocks could hold 150 million barrels of oil


WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Anadarko Petroleum believes its three New Zealand exploration blocks could hold up to 150 million barrels of crude oil or trillions of cubic feet of natural gas, a company executive said.

"There's significant interest in New Zealand--otherwise we wouldn't be here," John Gordon, Anadarko's exploration manager for the Asia-Pacific region, told The Wall Street Journal in an interview.

Anadarko's threshold for overseas exploration is the potential for 150 million barrels of oil or multiple trillions of cubic feet of natural gas, he said. "In the blocks that we are in in New Zealand we think they have that potential," he said.

Anadarko has been exploring for oil in New Zealand since 2008. It holds permits for a block in the Taranaki Basin off the west coast of North Island and for two blocks off the east coast of New Zealand South Island. It expects to begin drilling in late 2013 or early 2014.

The New Zealand government has increasingly sought to attract exploration for oil, but while the country offers the potential for large discoveries, its isolated location presents challenges.

Mr. Gordon wouldn't say whether Anadarko would bid in New Zealand's current tender for 23 blocks, which closes Oct. 15. However, he said the transparency of New Zealand's business environment makes it an attractive place to do business.

"The way New Zealand is developing its programs and trying to encourage investment and developing regulations and clear policies is very, very helpful," he said.

The government has introduced a process whereby interested parties can tender a number of oil exploration blocks annually. Mr. Gordon said the change was a step in the right direction and would generate greater interest in New Zealand.

The New Zealand dollar's strength was an "issue" but it wouldn't affect the company's exploration program because it takes a long-term view, Mr. Gordon said.

Dow Jones Newswires

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