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NZOG gets permit extension in Canterbury

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 13/10/2016 Paul McBeth

New Zealand Oil & Gas has been granted an extension to its Clipper exploration permit for the Barque prospect in the Canterbury Basin, which it says could be bigger than Taranaki's Maui.

The Wellington-based company now has until April 10, 2018 to commit to drilling an exploration well, and until June 10, 2020 to drill the well if they go ahead with the plan.

NZOG estimates the Barque prospect is equivalent to 530 million barrels of oil, at least twice that of the Maui discovery that's been operating since the 1970s.

"The Barque prospect in Clipper is a potential game-changer for the Canterbury region, for New Zealand and for our company," acting chief executive Andrew Jefferies said.

NZOG's permit extension for the Canterbury prospect comes the same day Norway's Statoil pulled out of the Reinga Basin in Northland, saying the chance of striking oil was too low to continue.

The local exploration industry has been in a downturn with the collapse in global oil prices, making forays into remote areas such as New Zealand less appealing to major players.

The Wellington exploration company owns 50 per cent of the permit and is in talks with potential farm-in partners with the scale to operate a large deepwater prospect.

ASX-listed Beach Energy owns the rest of the permit.

NZOG shares last traded at 52.5 cents, having gained 24 per cent this year.

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