Shell Todd Oil Services says further drilling could take place as early as next summer, if a new exploration well near the Maui gas field proves successful.
The single well is on the Ruru prospecting block, 40km offshore from South Taranaki. It's next to the Maui gas field, which is due to run out in about ten years.
Chief executive Rob Jager says there are still opportunities to get more gas out of Maui and extend the field's life
He will know in a couple of months whether there's any oil or gas there.
The drill ship Noble Discoverer is contracted for one well.
Mr Jager says New Zealand has to compete with the Bass Strait in Australia and the North West Shelf to attract drilling operators.