Indie eyes New Zealand appraisal and development work

Malaysian independent Matahio Energy has ambitious plans onshore New Zealand after completing the acquisition of six onshore oil and gas licences in the Taranaki basin on NZ’s North Island.

The operator has designed a multi-year development programme consisting of infill and step-out drilling as well as the appraisal of newer fields in the 100%-held Puka licence to be tied back to existing operated infrastructure.

This organic growth programme is targeting an additional 3.8 million barrels of oil equivalent and, if successful, will ensure more than 100% replacement of reserves across the company’s portfolio.

Matahio will be the operator of these six licences, holding a 100% participating interest in four and a 70% interest in the remaining two assets. Three of the six blocks are currently producing.

The deal gives the company operatorship of the Cheal and Sidewinder fields, which have current net output of 1400 barrels of oil equivalent per day. At prevailing crude prices and current operational expenditure, the two fields are expected to generate positive cash flow through 2030.

In tandem with the acquisition closing, Matahio’s first Cheal infill well as part of its development programme is currently being completed.

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“We are excited to progress the multi-dimensional plans we have laid out for this portfolio of assets in New Zealand,” said Matahio chief executive Wai-Lid Wong.

“First and foremost, the execution of an expansive production optimisation and development programme, which has already borne fruit, will continue to exhibit Matahio’s mature field management credentials. This includes maintaining the portfolio’s Opex per barrel at levels lower than US$40 per barrel.”

Matahio is adding proven-plus-probable reserves of 2 million boe with an effective date of 1 January with this NZ acquisition.

The company also has constructed a bottom-up greenhouse gas reduction plan that projects the New Zealand business to be net zero by 2030.

A significant component of this plan is the company’s deep decarbonisation of its operation, for which a number of projects have been initiated in 2023, targeting an immediate impact on New Zealand’s carbon footprint.

“We are also keen to continue discussions with our industry peers, investors, government and other key stakeholders to ensure that the oil and gas industry is effectively participating in an orderly energy transition in New Zealand, which supports the country achieving its overall net zero ambitions,” added Wong.