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Caravel-1: Lessons Learned in the Deepwater Canterbury Basin

Abstract

In early 2014, Anadarko New Zealand Company, along with partners Origin Energy and Discover Exploration drilled the Caravel-1 well, the first well to be drilled in the deepwater Canterbury Basin offshore New Zealand. Located in 1,100 meters of water and approximately 115 kilometres northeast of Dunedin, the primary objective of the well was to test post-rift, basement-derived Upper Cretaceous sandstones draped over and onlapping a large seismically-defined basement horst block. Secondary objectives consisted of potential Paleogene-aged sandstones exhibiting prominent seismic amplitude anomalies. Drilling proceeded at Caravel-1 without incident to a total depth of 2,692 meters. Results indicated moderate gas shows within the Paleogene section, but no significant shows within the primary Upper Cretaceous objective. The well was plugged and abandoned after wireline logging, MDT testing, acquisition of rotary sidewall cores and velocity surveys. A number of frontier wildcats had been drilled in water depths of 600–850 meters in the adjacent Great South Basin as early as 1976 with some encouraging shows, but were rather limited in the extent of their analyses, primarily due to the nature of available technology at the time. Though the Caravel-1 was unsuccessful, a comprehensive evaluation using the latest tools and technology has led to a much better understanding of the potential petroleum systems of the offshore Canterbury basin, including the nature and distribution of potential reservoir and seal facies, as well as potential new source intervals and plays. This data should help focus future exploration efforts in the Canterbury Basin to those areas with the greatest potential for economic success.