Friday, 17 October 2014

Oil exploration West Coast, South Island, New Zealand.


One hundred and fifty years after gold was found on the West Coast, oil exploration appears set to take off.
Two companies have found oil in areas inland of Greymouth and the Government has just closed bids on a block offer covering 6700 square kilometres.
Mosman Oil and Gas took over an exploration permit near Lake Brunner last December.
The Perth-based company has found oil in two of the three exploratory holes drilled in its Petroleum Creek project.
Mosman technical director Andy Carroll said the oil around Petroleum Creek was so shallow it could be seen leaking out of the surface.
Oil was first spotted in the area in the late 1800s when a railway was built and there have been multiple wells drilled since.
"We've demonstrated there's oil underground and the next question is what rates it produces," Carroll said.
Over the next two months, the first two wells will be put through their paces in extended flow tests.
"Even a few barrels a day would be both technically and commercially satisfactory to get started," Carroll said.
After that, Mosman has its eyes on drilling further west where the oil should be deeper and therefore produce higher flow rates.
"We've drilled three wells now since we started here. We drilled in June, July and October, we think we'll drill multiple wells in the next 12 months."
About 10 kilometres to the south-west another historic well site, Niagara, is being explored by Gloriavale Christian Community.
Based in Haupiri, inland from Greymouth, the community supports itself with a number of industries, including deer and dairy farming and a meat rendering plant.
Through its company, Ocean Harvest International Limited, the community has held a permit to explore Niagara since 2001.
Geological consultant Murry Cave said Ocean Harvest had imported a new drill in June and expected to resume drilling at Niagara early next year.
In the meantime, the drill had been put into service at Whataroa to delve into the Alpine Fault as part of a scientific project led by GNS Science.
 If oil is found in profitable quantities, tough conservation measures will have to be enforced to preserve the biodiversity and scenic beauty of the area. Photo: Kira Birchfield


 With two companies already prospecting, there could soon be more faces looking for oil on the West Coast.
In April, New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals opened up 405,000 square kilometres of land for a block offer bid in three onshore and five offshore areas.
About 6700 square kilometres of that was on the West Coast, covering a stretch of land north-east of Westport to the south-west of Hokitika, including Department of Conservation-administered Victoria Forest Park.
At the time, Minister of Energy and Resources Simon Bridges came under fire for admitting he did not know where the conservation park was.

 This map of the area around Lake Brunner on the West Coast of the South Island outlines the extent of the impressive KĊtuku oilfield, discovered in 1900. The map shows both oil seeps and gas escapes, and it also indicates boreholes and areas recommended for further boring. Little came of the bores put down. The only New Zealand locality where drilling on seeps has been successful is the small-scale Moturoa oilfield, on the New Plymouth foreshore.

Cave and Carroll both said Victoria Park would hold little interest for those exploring for oil.
"The Victoria Forest should have got cut out in that consultation process," Carroll said.
"We're certainly not interested in trying to push into anything like a national park. There's no need because there's enough area without getting into those sort of issues."
Bids for the block offer closed last week. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment refused to provide information about how many bids had been received or for which areas.
Carroll said Mosman had made four bids but did not specify where, except to say the company was interested in the area it was already working in.
"The applications we've put in won't involve any sensitive areas," he said.
The bids would be assessed and permits were expected to be granted from December.

Thanks to the Press for permission to run excerpts from their publication.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Kiwi skier rescues 40kg sheep high on a mountain

Pete Oswald
Alpine Rescue: Marlborough skier Pete Oswald rescues a 40kg sheep stranded high up the Hector Mountains, in Otago. 
 
People often ask me, " Why are you so happy or proud to be a New Zealander?"  I usually mention that we are close to the land, care for everything about us and dare to be different. This story about a skier rescuing a 40kg stranded sheep, picking it and skiing with it down to safety, epitomizes what it is to be a Kiwi.













A snowballing sheep will become the stuff of legend for semi-professional skier Pete Oswald.
The Marlborough man carried out one of the world's few sheep rescues on skis after an exhausted ewe slid into his life.
He was high in the Hector Mountains, Otago, on a photo shoot for Snow Action Magazine with Southern Lakes Heliski when the woolly story unfolded.
Oswald, 29, and photographer Dan Power were on the last run of the day setting up for a shoot when a piece of snow fell from the slope and hit Oswald's ski boot, causing him to take a backward glance at the slopes.
He saw a "little bundle of wool" tumbling head over feet over a rocky ridge and down the mountain.
The sheep landed 100 metres from Oswald and, fearing the sheep had been killed, he skied over for a closer look.
"The sheep's head was bent underneath its body. I put the sheep upright and it was bleeding from the nose. It was trying to walk but was totally exhausted. It wouldn't have survived if I had left it there."
Oswald squatted down and lifted the 40-kilogram ewe on to his legs and skied slowly down the slope.
"It was really hard to ski, there was a lot of wool in my face when I carried it."
He nearly fell over a few times travelling down the mountain before leaving the lucky sheep on a flat, grassy area where it could feed. The sheep slowly walked off unperturbed by its snowy ride.
His father, John Oswald, a former farmer from the Awatere Valley, told him the sheep could have been up there since the start of winter. Its wool had not been shorn and was inches deep.
"They are pretty resourceful animals," Oswald said. The sheep was fully grown, a female and was tagged.
"It's a bit of a yarn. It is definitely the oddest thing I have found skiing."
Oswald is a semi-professional skier and cinematographer based in Innsbruck, Austria.
During his career he has seen mountain goats, marmots in France and bears in North America but the sheep is his favourite find. Thanks to the Marlborough Express for permission to run excerpt from this article.