11 Jul 2005

Exploration firm prepares to drill new well in PNG

8:50 pm on 11 July 2005

Oil and gas exploration company Austral Pacific Energy Limited says it will drill a well later this year in a low-lying area known as the Foreland in Papua New Guinea's Western province.

Austral Pacific, with headquarters in Wellington, explores for oil and gas in New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea where it's been involved in several wells with other firms over the past decade.

The chief executive officer, Dr Dave Bennett, says the firm's arranging at the moment to drill a well part of the way north along the Strickland River, near Lake Murray.

He says the dry-hole, or basic, cost of the drilling is between eight and nine million US dollars.

"We've been having trouble getting a rig -- there's a bit of a boom on in the world or oil and gas exporation and it was our intention to be drilling the well round about right now but as it is we're currently securing a rig which we'll bring into the country, and we expect to be drilling the well around about the end of the year."

Dr Dave Bennett from Austral Pacific