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The Journey to Waitangi Valley-1

What goes into the building of a drill site? When it’s in the undeveloped East Coast Basin, even a small well pad nestled in the hills can take some infrastructure work. As always though, TAG Oil is careful to work within the landscape and keep a small footprint. Here are some photos from the field of our soon-to-be-spud Waitangi
Valley-1 well.
 

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A couple of locals supervise our team. 
 

     

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Prepping the well pad site for the big rig en route.

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We built a small bridge over a seasonal stream…

 

     

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…That flooded from record winter rains. No harm done.

 

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Conductor Pilot Hole Opener assembly, drills 17.5” hole down to a depth of 42m. Later a conductor hole is drilled to 26” size.

 

     

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Welding a “20” conductor casing that will be cemented in the 26”  hole to a depth of 42m.


 

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Taking in the view in the winter sun, enjoying the new fence we built. 

Year-end, and full speed ahead.

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What better way to bookend TAG Oil’s 2014 fiscal year than with great panoramic shots of two exploration drill sites: above is the Taranaki Basin at Southern Cross, and below is our upcoming Waitangi Valley-1 well drilling pad in the East Coast Basin.

It was a good year at TAG, with active step-out drilling and approximately 893,000 BOE of new gross reserves to date. New discovery area production has been consistent and that success has opened up several new, promising, development drilling locations.

On the other side of the island is the Waitangi Valley-1 drill site. This exploration prospect is TAG's second unconventional well, this time targeting the source rocks in a deeper basinal setting than the Ngapaeruru-1 well. It also includes possible conventional discovery potential, as we drill through a number of Miocene-age sands similar to what we produce from in Taranaki.

At Cardiff-3 we are planning an uphole completion once the drilling data has been further analyzed and our team has determined the best way to complete the well.

Meanwhile, sticking to plan and equipment availability, we move on to development drilling within TAG’s 100%-owned, proven Cheal field, the newly discovered Greater Cheal area, and two new step-out wells targeting the oil potential in our lightly explored Sidewinder field acreage, neighbor to the successful Ngatoro field, which has been producing high netback oil for more than 25 years.

Company finances remain strong, and so does our commitment to the community, as we fund a Stratford High School scholarship (hats off to this year’s winner Anna England, who will be studying Geology at Victoria University), sponsoring the Taranaki Rugby Football Union, the New Plymouth Surf Life Saving Club, donating a new kitchen to the Ngaere School, and much more.

There’s much to do and we’re all energized!

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What oil and gas means to New Zealand

TAG Oil’s second new video (2 minutes and 21 seconds) shows the contributions natural resources make in New Zealand. In two parts, the first section focuses on economics: the positive economic benefits of oil and gas in terms of GDP and employment, what TAG Oil contributes, and some of the potential still to be explored. From our perspective, this can be done safely and responsibly, taking great care to respect the land, leave a small footprint, and co-exist in harmony with our neighbors.

The second part of the video shows some of the unexpected places petroleum products show up in our daily lives. Fuel, paint and tires, we know, but solar panels? Canoes? Smartphone components? Toys? And yes, even beauty products. We take these things as much for granted in modern life as we do the fresh New Zealand air that we breathe and the clean water we drink.

Conservation helps every single one of us. But the next time you grab your surfboard and drive to the beach, recognize that we’re all also consumers. Here’s to a good balance!

 

TAG Oil in New Zealand from TAG Oil on Vimeo.

Strategy stays the course, even as new plans take shape

TAG Oil CEO Garth Johnson and COO Drew Cadenhead took to the phone lines last week to discuss recent drilling announcements and the new fiscal year’s operational plans. Typically forthright, forthcoming and realistic, they outlined the Company’s plans and answered participant questions.

TAG’s vision remains in focus, to:

  • Grow baseline reserves, production, and cash flow in Taranaki
  • Build a steady stream of long-term predictable cash flow from production
  • Continue to pursue high-impact Taranaki exploration in deep Kapuni and the offshore Kaheru
  • Unlock the vast potential of unconventional East Coast basin assets
  • Focus on maintaining balance sheet strength.

Said CEO Johnson: “Our approach to our business plan has always been to start off with an understanding of what we can afford to do. We high-grade our prospects that we have in inventory. We analyze our commitments to maintain permits in good standing. And we agree what the acceptable risks are versus the potential returns with each drill prospect, and then we execute our plan.

We always consider the amount of value that can be created by a variety of potential programs as part of our process. So we ensure we choose the right program that provides an opportunity for large-scale success without putting the Company at risk financially….

Can we guarantee success? No. But we set our sights high. We work hard. We study our data. We learn from our mistakes. We manage the risks and we stick to our business plan, which gives us the best shot at success.”

Specific details of the CapEx program

TAG has defined a $60 million CapEx program for the fiscal year, fully funded through forecasted cash flow and working capital on-hand. The investments break down as follows:

  • $31 million invested in onshore shallow Taranaki, to:

        -  Drill five low-risk Cheal wells and two higher risk Sidewinder B oil wells

        -  Acquire new seismic

        -  Complete plant, facility and well optimization work

  • $5 million slated for offshore Taranaki in preparation to drill the Kaheru prospect (40% interest)
  • $3 million for an uphole completion at Cardiff-3, once the data has been studied
  • $1 million to drill a well in the frontier Canterbury basin, where oil and gas seeps onshore and discoveries offshore have confirmed the hydrocarbon system is working
  • $20 million to drill and test East Coast unconventional wells:

         - Drill the new Waitangi Valley-1 well

         - Drill the new Boar Hill-1 well

         - Test the Ngapaeruru 1 well at the same time

On recent challenges

  • Sidewinder Miocene gas BOEs declined rapidly early on, but are now steady at 150 BOEs a day.
  • While Cardiff’s deepest K3E zone wasn’t immediately successful, the data confirms the zone is filled with hydrocarbons: gas, oil and condensate. We just have to figure out how best to unlock it.
  • Meanwhile, the upper two, previously proven zones, are our next target, as soon as we have a rig free.
  • The only economical rig in New Zealand is the Nova 1 rig, which is booked for two Cheal-B wells starting next week, then one East Coast deep well at Waitangi Valley. So we're looking at three to six months before that rig returns to Taranaki.
  • While the actual operational aspects of the completion and testing are quick, the pre-operational setup steps for fracking in New Zealand are long and involved, and also fairly new. These include specific consents both on regional district council consents, water consents, and much more.
  • Because we have to mobilize an entirely different set of equipment over to the east coast to test wells, we made a strategic / economic decision to delay further testing of the Ngapaeruru well until we had two or three wells to test back to back, if warranted.

Looking ahead

While there are no guarantees in this business, we see every reason to continue setting our4734035818 e888d30cde z sights high. TAG Oil is excellent at reading its data, managing its risks, and sticking to its business plan. And operationally, we’re still looking ahead to another big surprise well like Cheal E1 or B5, cracking Cardiff, branching out into Kaheru offshore, and establishing a new oil and gas zone in the East Coast Basin, or maybe even the Canterbury Basin. We’re counting on our quality team, the data, excellent acreage, and sound fundamentals, but only time will tell for sure.

Read or listen to the full transcript of the FY15 Operations call here.

TAG Oil on The Globe’s list of "tempting takeover targets"

Timing is everything. With growing attention and focus allocated back into the natural resources sector, investment reporter Tim Shufelt of The Globe and Mail (Canada's most widely read newspaper) recently included TAG Oil Ltd. in its list of "Tempting Takeover Targets." 

And why wouldn’t it be? TAG Oil is profitable with an attractive valuation, on track to achieve record financials, and with a share price trading near four-year lows. In The Globe's own words, here's how they compiled the list:

"The primary criterion we screened for was an attractive ratio of enterprise value (EV) todescribe the image earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). (EV is the market value of all its shares plus the company’s net debt.)  Also known as the “takeover multiple,” a low EV/EBITDA ratio could signal that a company is undervalued. We limited our search to stocks with an EV/EBITDA of eight or lower. We also wanted to weed out the smaller companies, so market capitalization had to be at least $100-million. Next, we filtered out stocks that had a debt-to-equity ratio of greater than 50 per cent.  Finally, to help identify stocks that might be underpriced, we screened for those that were priced at least 30 per cent lower than their 52-week highs."

See the full list of companies here: http://bit.ly/Globe_TAG-tempting-takeover-target

Above and beyond those numbers, TAG is heading into FY2015 with a plan to invest $60 million into exploration by targeting low-risk development, high-impact, and unconventional drilling. All CAPEX will be fully funded by cash flow and available working capital. Listen to a recording of Wednesday's call with our CEO and COO delving into those details, on the TAG Oil website.

Oh, and one last thing. While we're pleased to be recognized as a great value, we still have too much exploration work to complete, and hopefully a lot more oil to find!

Shallow well development and exploration drilling update

With all our recent financial news and Cardiff’s deep drilling updates, shallow oil and gas developments at Cheal and Sidewinder have gone under-reported lately. This post should bring you up to date!

Even as flow rates have stabilized, development and step out drilling are delivering excellent results. The Cheal-E1 step out well, which was placed on production last November, defined TAG’s newest producing oil site. The addition of Cheal E substantially extends the oil-saturated area of TAG’s Cheal field, and to date has produced about 90,000 bbls of oil. Current stabilized production is about 650 bbls/d of oil per day (455 bbls/d net), plus solution gas from three wells.

In the current 2015 fiscal year, TAG is slated to drill five more shallow development wells within the Cheal and Greater Cheal area. Four of these wells will be drilled with a 100% interest; one well drilled will be at a 70% interest in the new Cheal-E site acreage.

AtCheal South and Southern Cross, a 50-50 joint venture with East West Petroleum in a non-core operating area, TAG has already drilled four shallow exploration wells and one exploration side-track well. Three of them are being plugged and abandoned, while one, the Cheal-G1 well, is currently planned for production testing as a potential new discovery…we’ll keep you posted! 

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Over at Sidewinder, we have two exploration wells planned in the Sidewinder-B site, which target 3D seismically defined anomalies, which we interpret to be oil-prone prospects. Our exploration team has made the decision to focus this next round of wells on oil, based on the decline rates of Sidewinder’s gas wells. Again, we’ll let you know how things proceed. [Photo: Loading arm to fill Sidewider oil tanks.]

All of the seven wells mentioned here were identified from TAG’s proprietary 3D, and we consider five of them to be the lowest possible risk in our portfolio. So while we’re casting a bigger net to pull some higher-risk, higher-potential prospects into our drilling portfolio in FY 2015, our
low-risk shallow drilling strategy to fund our other activities remains in place.

TAG Oil's story gets shared via OTC Markets

TAG Oil founder and Chairman Alex Guidi takes a step into the spotlight, to talk to the folks at OTC Markets.

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As this month's feature interview, we got the chance to spread the news TAG's oil and gas drilling success, record revenues, exploration strategy, and sound financial fundamentals, as well as New Zealand's major untapped potential. 

Says Chairman Guidi, "Exploration is a risky business. However TAG Oil is an opportunity for investors to participate in a high-impact exploration company with risk mitigated by a foundation of reserves and an established production base. We have years of development drilling opportunities ahead, state-of-the-art infrastructure in place to handle growth, and a portfolio of drilling opportunities with significant undiscovered resource potential.... When you consider the significant undiscovered potential, a ready market for domestic consumption of natural gas, and the premium quality, high-netback oil sold into the Australasian market, TAG’s potential in New Zealand is very compelling."

Read the full interview here: TAG Oil's OTC Interview

TAG Oil is a member of the OTCQX, designed for investor-focused companies that meetdescribe the image high financial standards, are current in their disclosure and receive third party advisory. According to OTC, "The companies found on OTCQX are distinguished by the excellence of their operations and diligence with which they convey their qualifications." 

Oil and gas drilling and production brought to life

We realize that we post a lot of pictures of our oil and gas permit sites here on the blog, and write press releases about our drilling process, the status of different exploration sites, production numbers, and estimated potential. Further, we talk a fair bit about how we use the safest, most environmentally conscious techniques, many of which we’re the first to bring to New Zealand.

But talking about it isn’t the same as showing it. 

So talented New Zealand video firm buildmedia recently put together a few videos that bring TAG Oil’s work to life. This first one is particularly exciting, as it shows TAG’s process from scoping to siting to drilling to production, all within the context of the actual landscape…above ground and below!

Over the next few weeks, we’ll release the other two videos, which you’ll also find posted to our website. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy and learn simultaneously. As buildmedia’s tagline says, “seeing is believing.”

How We Work

Forging relationships in the Asia Pacific

Thanks to all of you who dropped by the TAG Oil booth at the Hong Kong Mines and Money conference last week. IR Director Seth Kay and Exploration Geologist David Loretto reported that the gathering was energizing and informative, with speakers and attendees from around the world.

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“Being one of the few oil and gas exploration and production companies exhibiting at the mining conference, we definitely stood out and attracted a lot of attention," said Seth Kay. "This was a great step in raising awareness and increasing our exposure in this part of the world. As a result, TAG Oil is starting to generate more interest from the Asian investment community, and we’ve established some valuable relationships to explore going forward.”

What did people find to be so compelling about TAG? "With very strong fundamentals, an ambitious exploration campaign underway, potentially major near-term catalysts, and a share price currently trading near four-year lows, this is the time to get TAG Oil’s story out in front of as many people as possible.”

Our offshore rig sails by the window

Here's a snapshot we took out of TAG Oil's New Plymouth board-room window yesterday. It's the Ensco-107 Jack-up rig we'll eventually be using to drill Kaheru, in transit, sitting off Port Taranaki.

The Kaheru is a prospect in shallow waters -- about 22 meters deep -- and just eight miles offshore, on the same thrust belt play fairway as several of Taranaki's successful oil and gas fields. 2D and 3D seismic show this to be an offshore extension of the producing, Miocene-aged discovery trend, and we're excited about the discovery potential of this prospect. Not to mention...how cool is this?

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