This update is being provided prior to TAG’s year-end results, which will include an independent assessment on proven, probable and possible reserves, and is expected to be announced on June 29, 2012.
Taranaki Basin Production
Current daily production is approximately 2,600 to 2,800 barrels of oil equivalent per day (“BOE”). The split between oil and natural gas is currently approximately 57% oil to 43% gas until such time as the enhancements to Cheal’s artificial lift capabilities are completed, allowing oil currently held behind pipe to flow.
There are currently 18 wells at the Cheal oil and gas field that are capable of production, eight of which are currently on-stream. In addition, TAG has two of the four commercial wells currently on-stream at Sidewinder. Once infrastructure upgrades have been fully completed, a minimum of 10 more Cheal wells and two additional Sidewinder wells will be placed into full-time production. In addition, results from TAG’s ongoing drilling program and a number of workover operations are expected to contribute to future increases in production.
Because of the lightly explored nature of TAG’s Taranaki Basin fields, it is difficult to accurately estimate future daily production. TAG is confident however, that with 12 successful wells already drilled with behind-pipe production awaiting tie-in, daily oil and gas production will increase to more than 5000 BOE per day over the next six to nine months, with potential to exceed that estimate depending on well performance, the outcome of additional development drilling, exploration drilling and workover operations.
Sidewinder and Cheal Drilling Program
Electric logs indicate economic oil-and-gas pay in the recently drilled Cheal-C3 well consistent with other wells drilled in the Cheal “C” block. Cheal-C3 recorded a total of 17.5 meters of pay including 6.5 meters of pay within the Urenui Formation and 11 meters of pay in the Mt. Messenger Formation. It is important to note that Cheal-C3 was drilled updip of the Cheal-C2 gas/condensate discovery, and continues to extend the known oil and gas saturation area in this new discovery site. The Cheal-C2 discovery well achieved initial flow rates of approximately 14 million cubic feet of gas per day (~2,333 BOE per day), and with associated condensate production. Completion and testing operations of Cheal-C3 will be conducted in the near future.
Drilling is presently underway at the Cheal-C4 location, which is the first down-dip follow-up well to the Cheal-C1 oil discovery announced on December 8, 2011. It is estimated that Cheal-C4 will reach total depth on or about June 27, 2012.
Cheal-A11 and Cheal-A12:
TAG intends to drill the Cheal-A11 and A12 wells at the Cheal-A site as follow-ups to the recent success of the Cheal-A8, Cheal-A9 and Cheal-A10 wells. These wells will be drilled back-to-back once TAG and Webster Drilling’s VR500 Nova-1 rig has been released from drilling the Cheal-C4 well.
Sidewinder-5 and Sidewinder-6:
On June 6, 2012 TAG received consent from the New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) to drill four new wells within TAG's 100%-owned Sidewinder Oil and Gas Field in New Zealand. The final decision granting consent in support of TAG's drilling operations was handed down after affected landowners requested a hearing. The consent grant is subject to an appeal process, however if an appeal is not filed, TAG plans to resume drilling operations at Sidewinder. This drilling at Sidewinder will represent the first wells drilled since the four Sidewinder oil and gas discovery wells were drilled in 2010 and 2011.
In the event these Sidewinder wells become temporarily delayed due to an appeal, TAG plans to move the Nova-1 drill rig to the Cheal-B site and spud the Cheal-B8 well which would be the third well drilled targeting similar geological characteristics as the high-deliverability Cheal-B5 and Cheal-B7 oil wells.
Testing and Workover Operations
TAG has contracted the Ensign-6 service rig to carry out a number of operations that will begin on or about July 1, 2012 as follows:
• The Cheal-B5 and B7 wells will have workovers conducted to install permanent artificial lift allowing TAG to place the wells on full time, stabilized production. These wells are currently producing naturally, without the aid of any artificial lift, at approximately 900 BOE per day combined. It is estimated with artificial lift the two wells can produce approximately 1,500 BOE per day, (predominately oil);
• Complete and test Cheal-C3, where 17.5 meters of oil and gas pay was intersected;
• Complete and test Cheal-C4 as necessary;
• Complete and test Cheal-A11, A12, Sidewinder-5, Sidewinder-6 and Cheal-B8 as necessary;
• Additional Sidewinder compression is expected to increase field production to approximately 10 million cubic feet of gas per day (1,667 BOE per day) in the near future;
• Recomplete Cheal-A2 and Cheal-A4 to convert these two wells into a water flood scheme within the Cheal A-Pool. This operation is intended to increase recovery factors in the Cheal A pool by up to10-15%.
Production Infrastructure and Pipeline Upgrades
TAG’s infrastructure program is progressing on time and on budget to ensure all of the facilities have excess capacity to handle both existing and future production capabilities. These Infrastructure enhancements are anticipated to include:
• Tripling oil lifting capacity at Cheal;
• Installation of gas processing facilities, including additional compression, to ensure gas meets New Zealand specification to allow for transportation and marketing in the open access pipeline system;
• Construction of a gas plant at Cheal capable of stripping liquid hydrocarbons from Cheal gas;
• Building the Cheal-C site oil battery to establish permanent production from recent Cheal-C site discoveries, as well as allow for future development of the area;
• Adding new pipelines to tie the Cheal-C site to the Cheal-A site;
• Add a new 6,000 meter pipeline to TAG’s existing infrastructure from Cheal to New Zealand's open access gas transmission line to maximize marketability of TAG's gas production;
• Establishing TAG as a third-party gas processor in the thriving Taranaki gas market.
TAG Oil CEO, Garth Johnson, commented,“The execution of our business plan continues to drive positive results, as well as significant increases to shareholder value. I’m proud to report our Taranaki operations continue to hit all milestones and are all being completed on time and on budget. We plan to have our behind-pipe production unrestrained in the next six to nine months with substantial upside potential through further successful development and exploration drilling in our lightly explored Mining Licenses. With just 13% of our proven onshore Taranaki acreage assigned as reserves to date, we have many years of continued drilling ahead, both in the shallow formations where we’re achieving strong success and in the deeper liquids-rich gas prospects, which will soon be scheduled for drilling. With growing cash flow and production, a strong balance sheet and a large inventory of high-impact exploration opportunities, TAG is well positioned to continue to achieve and grow.”
About TAG Oil Ltd
TAG Oil Ltd. (tagoil.com) is a Canadian-based production and exploration company with operations focused exclusively in New Zealand. With 100% control over all its core assets, including oil and gas production infrastructure, TAG is enjoying substantial oil and gas production and reserve growth through development of several light oil and gas discoveries. TAG is also actively drilling high-impact exploration prospects identified across more than 2,953, 810 net acres of land in New Zealand.
In the East Coast Basin, TAG has entered into a farm-out agreement with Apache Corporation to explore and potentially develop the major unconventional resource potential believed to exist in the tight oil source-rock formations that are widespread over the Company’s acreage. These oil-rich and naturally fractured formations have many similarities to North America’s Bakken source-rock formation in the successful Williston Basin.
TAG Oil has adopted the standard of six thousand cubic feet of gas to equal one barrel of oil when converting natural gas to “BOE’s”. BOEs may be misleading, particularly if used in isolation. A BOE conversion ratio of 6Mcf: 1 Bbl is based on an energy equivalency conversion method primarily applicable at the burner tip and does not represent a value equivalency at the wellhead.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements:
Statements contained in this news release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements that involve various risks and uncertainty affecting the business of TAG Oil. Such statements can generally, but not always, be identified by words such as "expects","plans","anticipates","intends","estimates","forecasts","schedules","prepares","potential" and similar expressions, or that events or conditions "will","would","may","could" or "should" occur. These statements are based on certain factors and assumptions including;
A. all estimates and statements that describe the Company's objectives, goals, production rates, infrastructure capacity and or future plans relating to the seismic, testing, workover and drilling programs in Taranaki are forward-looking statements under applicable securities laws and necessarily involve risks and uncertainties including, without limitation: risks associated with oil and gas exploration, development, exploitation, production, marketing and transportation, volatility of commodity prices, imprecision of reserve estimates, environmental risks, competition from other producers, and changes in the regulatory and taxation environment. These forward-looking statements are based on certain factors and assumptions, including factors and assumptions regarding the management's views on the oil and gas potential in the Permits, well performance, the success of any operations, completing infrastructure and the costs necessary to complete the operations; and
B. those relating to TAG Oil's exploration and development of its oil and gas properties within the Cheal and Sidewinder project areas, the production and establishment of additional production of oil and gas in accordance with TAG Oil's expectations at Cheal and Sidewinder, well performance, drilling the completion of new infrastructure at Cheal and Sidewinder, the increase of cash flow from new production, expected growth, results of operations, performance, prospects, evaluations and opportunities. While TAG Oil considers these factors and assumptions to be reasonable based on information currently available, they may prove to be incorrect. Actual results may vary materially from the information provided in this release, and there is no representation by TAG Oil that the actual results realized in the future will be the same in whole or in part as those presented herein.
TAG Oil is involved in the exploration for and production of hydrocarbons, and its property holdings with the exception of the Cheal and Sidewinder project areas are in the grass roots or primary exploration stage. Exploration for hydrocarbons is a speculative venture necessarily involving substantial risk. There is no certainty that the expenditures incurred on TAG Oil's exploration properties will result in discoveries of commercial quantities of hydrocarbons. TAG Oil's future success in exploiting and increasing its current reserve base will depend on TAG Oil's ability to develop its current properties and on its ability to discover and acquire properties or prospects that are producing. There is no assurance that TAG Oil's future exploration and development efforts will result in the discovery or development of additional commercial accumulations of oil and natural gas.
Other factors that could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements are also set forth in filings that TAG and its independent evaluator have made, including TAG's most recently filed reports in Canada under National Instrument 51-101, which can be found under TAG's SEDAR profile at sedar.com/.
TAG undertakes no obligation, except as otherwise required by law, to update these forward-looking statements in the event that management's beliefs, estimates or opinions, or other factors change.