Melbana Energy Limited (previously MEO) reports that the PEP-51153 Joint Venture has approved the drilling of the Pukatea-1 well, onshore New Zealand.

The company says the wildcat well is expected to spud in Q3/Q4 2017 and will target the potentially high impact Pukatea prospect .

The PEP-51153 Joint Venture has recently significantly upgraded the prospective resources attributable to the Pukatea prospect which are estimated to range from 1.3 to 40 million barrels (Low-High estimates) with a Best Estimate of 12.4 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Melbana said studies have increased the chance of success for from 16% to 19%. The uplift is based on the Operator’s analysis of Pukatea and the adjacent Waihapa field (~5km from Pukatea), which has produced in excess of 23MMboe with initial well rates of ~4,000 barrels per day.

Melbana Energy CEO and MD Peter Stickland said Pukatea represents a very exciting near term exploration drilling opportunity for Melbana.

“Given the potential size of the Pukatea prospect, a discovery has the potential to be very significant for Melbana shareholders, even at current oil prices.”