September 29, 2008

The Explorers


This week, the Government awarded nine new petroleum exploration licence blocks covering half of Taranaki. Awarding these licences guarantees a big increase in seismic surveying and exploration activity. The permits have been taken up by a mixture of established energy companies and others new to New Zealand. Rob Maetzig profiles them.



A privately-owned company that, together with its parent company Todd Energy, is involved in oil and gas exploration and production, along with retailing of natural gas, LPG, electricity generation and solar water heating systems. Todd Energy has been involved in exploration and mining since the 1950s, most of it in Taranaki. Todd Energy has strong assets and reserves within the Maui, Kapuni, Pohokura, Maari, Manaia, McKee, Mangahewa and Karewa oil and gas fields. The company also has interests in exploration permits in offshore Taranaki and the Great South Basin.


A state-owned enterprise with the primary objective of ongoing production and provision of renewable electricity energy, based around the Waikato hydro schemes and geothermal schemes. But, since 2002, the company has also had interests in combined cycle co- generation, hence its interest in exploring for gas reserves. A subsidiary, Mighty River Power Gas Investments Ltd, has taken up a 30% stake in an exploration permit with Todd Exploration.


A privately-owned company incorporated in New Zealand in August 2003 by Nelson man Stacey Radford. The company has an oil-and-gas exploration focus and presently holds operator interests in four New Zealand exploration permits. The technical support of the bid is provided by GeoSphere, which is a consulting group led by Mac Beggs. Dr Beggs has considerable petroleum industry experience and has been involved in numerous exploration ventures across the onshore Taranaki basin.


A public company listed on the Australian stock exchange. The company has a 75% interest in two private non-operator oil and gas exploration companies in the Czech Republic and one private uranium exploration company in Slovakia. GB Energy also has a 33% interest in a UK public company.

The company's principal scientist is Paul Robinson, who is also a director of the company. Dr Robinson has experience in New Zealand and extensive exploration experience in Australia, Europe and Asia.


A New Zealand incorporated company publicly listed on the ASX and NZX. The company holds four onshore petroleum exploration permits in the Western Southland basin and an interest in an exploration permit on the West Coast.

The company has its focus on exploration for oil and gas and also on coal seam gas in its Southland holdings.


Incorporated in Australia in July 1987 and listed on the ASX in February 1989. Mosaic Oil has established itself as an oil and gas exploration company with considerable present-day production interests in the Surat- Bowen Basin in south-east Queensland. Additional exploration interests are held on the north-west shelf of Australia and Papua New Guinea through fully-owned subsidiaries.


A fully-owned subsidiary of the Hardie Holdings Group and the holding company for the group's energy assets. Hardie Holdings is the investment group of Australian- based New Zealander Duncan Hardie, with assets in excess of $A400 million, and involvement in major infrastructure projects, including the now-approved Queensland- Newcastle gas pipeline. Through other subsidiary companies, the group has extensive assets in coal seam gas and petroleum exploration in NSW and two tenements in the Surat Basin and two in the Otway Basin as 50% partners with Rawson Resources.


A subsidiary of Rawson Resources Ltd, an energy resource company listed on the ASX. The group has exploration holdings in the Surat Basin, Queensland; Sydney Basin, New South Wales; Otway and Cooper Basins, South Australia; and Pedrika Basin in Northern Territory; along with mineral interests in South Australia. The Rawson Group is working closely with Hardie Energy, and executive chairman Dr John Conolly is an experienced Australian explorer.


A wholly-owned subsidiary of Rift Oil plc, but the shares are in the process of transfer to David Bennett and Bill Treuren, both of whom have a long-term involvement in New Zealand exploration and onshore Taranaki in particular. The technical support for the bid is provided by consultant Roger Brand, who has considerable experience in New Zealand and particularly in Taranaki.


A privately-owned energy resources company with significant interests in Taranaki, initially through purchase of the interests of Fletcher Challenge Energy in 2002 and later by the addition of further production and exploration permits to its portfolio. Greymouth operates six mining permits in Taranaki and has a seventh under application. The group has recently obtained an exploration interest in Chile. In addition, the group has interests in the Bonus Drilling Company and is closely associated with EXCONZ, a dedicated geosciences consultancy firm.


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