New Zealand Energy Corp.
TSX VENTURE : NZ

New Zealand Energy Corp.

November 29, 2011 08:30 ET

New Zealand Energy Announces Completion of Copper Moki-1 Extended Production Test and Third Quarter Financial Results

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 29, 2011) - New Zealand Energy Corp. (TSX VENTURE:NZ) ("NZEC" or the "Company"), an oil and natural gas company that is exploring, developing and producing petroleum prospects in New Zealand, has released the results of its third quarter ended September 30, 2011. Details of the Company's financial results are described in the Unaudited Consolidated Financial Statements and Management's Discussion and Analysis which, together with further details on each of the Company's projects, are available on the Company's website at www.newzealandenergy.com and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. All amounts are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise stated.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Completed extended production test of Copper Moki-1 well at a restricted rate through a 20/64th choke, averaging 521 barrels of oil and 508 mcf of natural gas per day
  • Copper Moki-1 to commence permanent production in early December; installing surface facilities for up to 1,000 barrels of oil per day
  • Commencing drilling of Copper Moki-2 well by year-end, followed by Copper Moki-3
  • Initiating 100-km2 3D seismic survey to hi-grade existing prospects on Eltham and Alton Permits
  • Assessing results of drill core from Waipawa Shale in Castlepoint Permit test
  • Re-drilling and deepening Ranui-1 well in December to further evaluate Whangai Shale
  • Positive working capital of $18.7 million at September 30, 2011; current cash on hand exceeds $17 million

TARANAKI BASIN UPDATE

NZEC is on track to meet its objective of commencing permanent production by year-end 2011. NZEC has completed an extended production flow test of its Copper Moki-1 discovery well and expects to bring the well on-stream in early December. Final reservoir analysis and production plans will be completed following recovery of the pressure recorders in the next few days. In August Copper Moki-1 flowed 1,100 barrels per day of 41.8 API1 oil and 855 mcf2 of natural gas per day over a two-day period. NZEC designed an extended production test at a restricted rate to evaluate the reservoir under constant operating conditions. The well flowed 6,228 barrels of oil over 12 days with average production of 521 barrels of oil and 508 mcf of natural gas per day on a 20/64th inch choke, and was subsequently shut-in for pressure build up. This equates to a 975 standard cubic feet (scf) per barrel gas to oil ratio. NZEC expects to bring the well on-stream at production levels similar to the extended test, but is installing surface facilities to accommodate well production of up to 1,000 barrels of oil per day to allow for well production optimization.

Produced oil is trucked to the Shell-operated Omata Tank Farm, approximately 45 km north of the Copper Moki well site, and sold to Shell as per an off-take agreement. NZEC is also evaluating options to market its natural gas production, given the close proximity of open-access gas pipelines and significant in-country demand for natural gas.

Achieving production at Copper Moki-1 will bring cash flow to the Company and transition NZEC from an exploration-stage company to an oil and gas producer. The oil is sweet and high quality and sells at a premium to the Brent reference price. The Company estimates netbacks in excess of US$60 per barrel.

NZEC is finalizing its multi-well drilling contract for Copper Moki-2 and Copper Moki-3, delineation wells for the Copper Moki pool, and expects to start drilling by year-end. The Copper Moki-2 well will be drilled directionally from the same pad as the Copper Moki-1 well to target both the Urenui and Mt. Messenger formations. NZEC will continue to produce Copper Moki-1 as drilling proceeds. The Copper Moki-3 well will be drilled approximately 1.3 km south of the Copper Moki-1 site and will target multi-zone potential in the Mt. Messenger, Urenui and Moki formations. The Copper Moki-1 well was completed in three sands over an interval of 12.2 metres within the Mt. Messenger formation. The Copper Moki-2 and Copper Moki-3 targets were identified using 3D seismic and are analogous to the Mt. Messenger Formation in Copper Moki-1.

NZEC's exploration strategy is to use its large database of 2D and 3D seismic to prioritize prospects that have a well-defined lower-risk Mt. Messenger target and provide multi-zone potential from the Urenui, Mt. Messenger, Moki and Kapuni formations.

NZEC is building an inventory of drill-ready targets in the Taranaki Basin and plans to execute a 3D seismic-defined exploration strategy in 2012. Using the Company's extensive technical database, NZEC has identified a number of features similar to Copper Moki-1 on 3D seismic. NZEC's in-country team is initiating the resource consent and surface access approval process for the 3D targets to prepare for continued advancement of multiple prospects in 2012. NZEC has also identified additional targets on 2D seismic and has initiated the steps required for a 3D seismic program in 2012 that will cover 100-km2 of the northern region of the Eltham and Alton permits, to more accurately define drilling targets and significantly reduce exploration risk. NZEC anticipates drilling two to three wells on each of its Taranaki Basin prospects with the potential to recover up to one million barrels of oil per well, based on analogue production in the Taranaki Basin.

1 American Petroleum Institute

2 Thousand cubic feet

EAST COAST BASIN UPDATE

On its East Coast Basin properties, NZEC is expanding its knowledge of the extensive shale packages that are the source of more than 300 oil and gas seeps. NZEC is on track to re-drill and deepen the Ranui-1 well in late December. Originally drilled by the previous permit holder in 2008, Ranui-1 encountered 224 metres of prospective Whangai Shale before reaching total depth of 1,134 metres, but did not penetrate the base of the Whangai Shale. NZEC's Ranui-2 core well will core the Whangai Shale across several intervals and will drill though the base of the Whangai Shale and into the underlying conventional reservoir sands.

NZEC is also interpreting the results of two test holes that cored the Waipawa Shale formation on NZEC's Castlepoint Permit. The information obtained from the Ranui and Castlepoint core holes will help determine the potential of the Whangai and Waipawa Shale formations and focus NZEC's exploration strategy for 2012.

NZEC looks forward to reporting additional results as exploration, development and production activities continue to advance its portfolio of properties.

FINANCIAL SNAPSHOT

For the
nine months ended
September 30, 2011
$
For the
financial period ended
December 31, 2010
$
Revenue - -
Net loss and comprehensive loss (6,931,816 ) (10,338,136 )
Interest income 54,262 -
Loss per share - basic and diluted (0.08 ) (0.24 )
Current assets 23,673,029 6,229,650
Total assets 33,566,611 6,301,322
Total liabilities 5,122,691 371,958
Shareholders' equity 28,443,920 5,929,364
Working capital 18,699,022 5,857,692

PETROLEUM PROPERTY ACTIVITIES, OPERATIONS AND CAPITAL EXPENDITURES FOR NINE-MONTH PERIOD ENDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2011

Taranaki Basin

During the nine-month period ended September 30, 2011, the Corporation incurred $4,784,160 in capitalized exploration and development costs relating to the Eltham Permit. Of the costs incurred during the period, $110,131 related to asset retirement costs, $353,172 was recorded for consulting services and $4,443,971 for well development. As a result of funding and drilling the Copper Moki-1 discovery well, reprocessing 438 km of 2D seismic data and carrying out a number of other technical studies to the satisfaction of the Ministry of Energy, the Corporation earned a 100% interest in the Eltham Permit which was assigned to NZEC on March 3, 2011. Total expenditures incurred as of September 30, 2011 relating to the Eltham Permit amounted to $4,792,428.

As of September 30, 2011, the Corporation paid $2,140,203 for the acquisition of the Alton Permit pursuant to the Alton Agreement and incurred $33,098 in asset retirement costs relating to the Alton Permit due to the drilling of the Talon-1 well. Well development costs of $2,519,750 were initially capitalized in relation to the drilling of the Talon-1 well but were then written off as the Corporation does not believe that these costs will generate future economic benefits due to the geological assessment of the well results.

East Coast Basin

During the nine-month period ended September 30, 2011, the Corporation incurred $327,276 in capitalized exploration costs on the Castlepoint Permit. Total expenditures incurred as of September 30, 2011 relating to the Castlepoint Permit amounted to $379,229.

In February 2011, the Corporation entered into the Ranui Assignment Agreement with Discovery Geo, pursuant to which Discovery Geo agreed to assign to NZEC its 100% interest in the Ranui Permit. Upon satisfaction of the conditions of assignment, NZEC paid Discovery Geo US$1,000,000 and issued 1,000,000 common shares to Discovery Geo. As of September 30, 2011, the Corporation had incurred $2,164,136 in capitalized acquisition costs relating to the Ranui Permit.

During the nine-month period ended September 30, 2011, the Corporation did not capitalize any exploration or acquisition costs relating to the East Cape Permit.

RESULTS OF OPERATIONS FOR THREE-MONTH PERIOD ENDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2011

Period Expenses

During the three-month period ended September 30, 2011, the Corporation incurred total expenses of $3,826,072. A stock-based compensation of $663,997 was recorded during the period for the fair value of stock options granted. The Corporation recorded a resource property write-off of $2,526,773 for the Talon-1 well as the Corporation does not believe that the costs will generate future economic benefits due to the geological assessment of the well results. The Corporation reclassified $286,805 in prior period professional fees relating to share issuance costs resulting in a credit balance as at period end. The Corporation reclassified $28,427 in prior period consulting fees relating to resource property development costs which also resulted in an ending credit balance. Management fees were in line with the consulting agreements entered into with J. Proust & Associates Ltd. ("JPA") and Wexford Energy Ltd ("Wexford") as detailed in the related party transactions recorded during the period. Travel and promotion materially related to travel costs associated with marketing of the Offering. On February 21, 2011, the Corporation entered into an asset purchase agreement ("IRBA Agreement") with Ian R. Brown Associates Limited ("IRBA") pursuant to which the Corporation acquired certain assets and agreed to offer employment to certain IRBA employees. As a result of the IRBA Agreement, the Corporation began incurring office and general costs for a larger office in Wellington, along with the additional salary and wages of its in-country staff. The remaining general and administrative costs were reflective of the Corporation's current stage of development.

Interest Income

The Corporation earned $27,586 of interest income on its excess cash and cash equivalent balances held during the three-month period ended September 30, 2011.

Net Loss and Funds from Operations

The Corporation generated net loss of $3,798,486 ($0.04 per share) for the period ended September 30, 2011.

On behalf of the Board of Directors

John Proust, Chief Executive Officer and Director

ABOUT NEW ZEALAND ENERGY CORP.

NZEC is an oil and natural gas company engaged in the exploration, development and production of petroleum and natural gas assets in New Zealand. NZEC's property portfolio collectively covers nearly two million acres of conventional and unconventional prospects in the Taranaki Basin and East Coast Basin of New Zealand's North Island. The Company's management team has extensive experience exploring and developing oil and natural gas fields in New Zealand and Canada, and takes a multi-disciplinary approach to value creation with a track record of successful discoveries. NZEC plans to add shareholder value by executing a technically disciplined exploration and development program focused on the onshore and offshore oil and natural gas resources in the politically and fiscally stable country of New Zealand.

Forward-looking Statements

This news release contains certain forward-looking information and forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities legislation (collectively "forward-looking statements"). The use of any of the words "initiate", "will be", "will", "plan", "expect" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements, including without limitation, the speculative nature of exploration, appraisal and development of oil and natural gas properties; uncertainties associated with estimating oil and natural gas resources; changes in the cost of operations, including cots of extracting and delivering oil and natural gas to market, that affect potential profitability of oil and natural gas exploration; operating hazards and risks inherent in oil and natural gas operations; volatility in market prices for oil and natural gas; market conditions that prevent the Company from raising the funds necessary for exploration and development on acceptable terms or at all; global financial market events that cause significant volatility in commodity prices; unexpected costs or liabilities for environmental matters; competition for, among other things, capital, acquisitions of resources, skilled personnel, and access to equipment and services required for exploration, development and production; changes in exchange rates, laws of New Zealand or laws of Canada affecting foreign trade, taxation and investment; failure to realize the anticipated benefits of acquisitions; and other factors discussed under "Risk Factors" in NZEC's Prospectus dated July 19, 2011. NZEC believes the expectations reflected in those forward-looking statements are reasonable, but no assurance can be given that these expectations will prove to be correct. Such forward-looking statements included in this news release should not be unduly relied upon. These statements speak only as of the date of this news release and NZEC does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements that are contained in this news release, except in accordance with applicable securities laws. In addition, this news release may contain forward-looking statements attributed to third-party industry sources.

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as such term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Contact Information

  • New Zealand Energy Corp.
    Rhylin Bailie
    Vice President, Communications & Investor Relations
    Toll-free: 1-855-601-2010

    New Zealand Energy Corp.
    Bruce McIntyre
    President & Director
    Toll-free: 1-855-601-2010
    info@newzealandenergy.com
    www.newzealandenergy.com