NORWEGIAN national oil company Statoil has farmed-in to a Pegasus basin permit operated by Austrian giant OMV, with the companies working together to decide the permit’s future.

Statoil will take a 30 per cent stake in Petroleum Exploration Permit (PEP) 57073, which covers 980,000 hectares off New Zealand’s North Island, for an undisclosed sum.

OMV, which will retain a 70% operating stake in the permit, is planning a series of geological and geophysical studies, including seismic surveys, over the permit area.

OMV New Zealand managing director Peter Zeilinger told Oil & Gas Australia that a 2D seismic survey would be completed over the permit area by 31 March 2017, with any commitment to drilling a well due by 2021.

“The new joint venture will decide how this will be executed in due course,” he said.

“Statoil’s focus on the Pegasus basin in the surrounding permits brings an alternate perspective to the joint venture,” he said.

“We believe that this is a successful technical combination for the joint venture.”

OMV also recently completed a development drilling program on the Maari and Manaia fields on Petroleum Mining Permit 38160.

The company was also conducting seismic re-processing and interpretation studies in the Taranaki basin, Mr Zeilinger said.

“On the production side, OMV New Zealand has an upgrade program for the FPSO Rarao’s mooring system expected to get underway in mid-March, which will coincide with the field’s annual maintenance shut-down,” he said.