By New Zealand Correspondent Neil Ritchie

PERTH-headquartered Searcher Seismic and TGS-Nopec Geophysical Company are each planning to shoot non-exclusive, multi-client, frontier basin seismic surveys but on different coasts of New Zealand.

They both applied for the government’s New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals unit for petroleum prospecting permits – TGS-Nopec for a six-month prospecting permit, while Searcher wants two years.

TGS-Nopec has applied for an area covering 14.4 million hectares of the Reinga basin to the northwest of New Zealand, while Searcher wants a two-year prospecting permit covering several frontier basins on the opposite coast – the offshore East Coast basin, Pegasus basin, offshore Canterbury basin and the Great South basin to the east and south of the South Island.

Norwegian company TGS-Nopec has been in New Zealand waters before.

The company acquired several thousand kilometres of 2D seismic data over the Deepwater Taranaki basin in 2001 as part of a partnership between NZP&M and the government’s GNS Science and as a prelude to the government’s unsuccessful Deepwater Taranaki Blocks Offer a year later.

The return of TGS-Nopec and the entry of Searcher follow on from Schlumberger Seaco’s initial foray down under during late 2012 and it winning a second six-month prospecting permit earlier this year.

Searcher says the Kehu 2D Basin-Tie Seismic Survey – due to be shot late this year in conjunction with the government’s GNS Science — will consist of approximately 26,200 km of long offset 2D data linking some of this country’s major hydrocarbon basins.

The company also says the survey will offer, for the first time, a regional high-quality broadband survey to comprehensively evaluate the tectonic-stratigraphic framework of the large sunken continent.

It adds that the Kehu survey can be licensed in its entirety or in North-West and South East subsets.

The survey lines have been designed to link the basins through the main depocenters to provide clarity to the sediment thickness and tectonic environment for each of the hydrocarbon prospective basins.

The survey will provide the first opportunity to apply a consistent, modern seismic data set to understanding the nature and extent of the various offshore basins and their relationships to each other in the complex tectonic environment that characterises New Zealand.