TAG Oil Blog

Shallow well development and exploration drilling update

Posted by Denise della Santina on May 15, 2014 11:50:00 AM

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.

Topics: Taranaki, Cheal-C site, Sidewinder Discovery

Infrastructure complete: Let the behind-pipe oil and gas flow!

Posted by Denise della Santina on Apr 2, 2013 12:45:00 PM

TAG geologist and geotechnical specialist Alexandra Johansen took a tour of Sidewinder and the newly completed Cheal oil and gas processing facility with a few other members of the team. We think you’ll agree, these shots are a far cry from the bare patch of land we shared back in August.

Great job to the team for their hard work freeing up our behind pipe oil and gas. But as ever, the work continues: Our engineers are busy tying the remaining wells into the plant, and over the next several weeks they’ll be fine tuning to make sure we get the flow optimized. 

Looking towards Rival #1, overview of the gas plant.

Overview of the gas plant looking towards Rival #1 on Cheal A-11: complete, and fully running right on time!

Shane Hamnett, Alex Johansen, Jack Doyle at gas plant

Shane Hamnett, Alex Johansen and Jack Doyle in the middle of the gas plant.

Vector meter skid at Cheal C site

The vector meter skid at the Cheal C site. It may not look like much but it was the last piece of work before we turned Cheal gas on to the sales line.

Pipeline inspection gaugues

Pig (pipeline inspection gauges) launchers to maintain the pipelines from C-to-A, A-to-C, and C-to-Vector, without having to interrupt the flow of hydrocarbons.

Sidewinder A-7HF

9 5/8" casing awaiting intermediate casing point on Sidewinder A-7HF. We normally run 8 1/2" casing, but this hole will be going to 4000m.

Cheal A-Site

Shane and Alex at the Cheal A-Site, with the Rival Rig #1 in the background for workover.

Gas-to-gas exchanger

Gas-to-gas exchanger with the de-ethanizer tower in the background, on a beautiful New Zealand fall day.

Topics: Cheal Production Facility, Cheal-C site, Announcements, pipeline, Jack Doyle

Cheal A, B and C sites have new photos and new progress

Posted by Denise della Santina on Sep 25, 2012 11:07:00 AM

Cheal A is bustling, with more than 100 guys working at the site at present. We’ve poured the concrete foundations for the new Cheal gas processing plant, A-11 is nearing completion, and the final hook-ups on the new power fluid pump drives (we’re pretty excited about our Schlumberger Variable Speed Drive) will be running soon.   

Cheal-C is also being transformed, and rigs are now in place at Cheal B-5. Some photos are below, and we look forward to reporting the results of these new optimizations soon.

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TAG’s Cheal-A site neighbors go on about their business, unaffected by our oil and gas production. 

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TAG now lines all its pits for extra environmental protection. Here are the skimmer pits for rainwater run-off from the Cheal C-Site. 

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The Ensign Rig #6 is loaded up and heading over to Cheal-B5, having finished its work at Cheal C-4.

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Pouring concrete foundations for TAG's new gas plant (which is being built in Alberta) at the Cheal A-Site.

Topics: Cheal Production Facility, Taranaki, Cheal-C site, Cheal Oil Field, oil and gas production

Improvements are good for TAG Oil and the neighborhood

Posted by Denise della Santina on Sep 5, 2012 10:33:00 PM
We’ve added attenuators (mufflers) on top of the power units for Nova-1 No more flaring to dirt pits for TAG! This is one of our new "flare stacks" with built in containment

(Top) No more flaring to dirt pits for TAG! This is one of our new "flare stacks" with built in containment. Though commonplace in Canada, this is a first in New Zealand. Other New Zealand operators are very interested to see how these work, as are the regulatory bodies in New Zealand.

(Left) We’ve added attenuators (mufflers) on top of the power units for Nova-1. These cut the rig noise almost in half, appreciated by neighbors and our team alike.

Cheal Production Station flare, which will be sold once the infrastructure upgrade is finished.

Cheal Production Station flare, which will be sold once the infrastructure upgrade is finished.

enjoying the winter sunshine

Here’s Jesse, a Cheal operator, enjoying the winter sunshine as TAG tankers "fill'er up."

Topics: Cheal Production Facility, Mt. Messenger, Taranaki, Cheal-C site, New Zealand, pipeline, Cheal Oil Field, oil and gas production

Tracking TAG Oil’s production, development and infrastructure

Posted by Denise della Santina on Mar 8, 2012 7:52:00 AM

We put together a simple table to bring you up to speed on TAG’s Taranaki Basin oil and gas producing and drilling activity. The table includes producing oil and gas wells, wells in development (some awaiting workover operations as well as improvements in production infrastructure, to bring additional production that’s currently sitting behind pipe, on-stream), and our next condensate targets to be drilled. Status will change quickly, but here’s a snapshot of how TAG Oil's drilling and workover program stands now.

Taranaki Shallow Drilling and Workover Program

Cheal A


Behind pipe awaiting infrastructure expansion



Waterflood workover






Waterflood workover



Behind pipe awaiting workover



Behind pipe awaiting infrastructure expansion,



Drilled, awaiting test



Drilled, awaiting test



To be drilled



To be drilled

Cheal B





Behind pipe awaiting workover to initiate Urenui Production



Behind pipe awaiting workover to initiate Urenui Production









Flowing 800 to 1300 bbls/day






Flowing 800 to 1075 bbls/day

Cheal C


Producing; oil being trucked to the Cheal Production Station



Excellent flow test results, behind pipe awaiting workover



To be drilled



To be drilled


SW1 - SW4


Producing 2 to 3 million cubic feet of gas per day (350–500 boe/day), and 30 to 50 barrels of light oil / day. Permanent tie-in completed. Anticipate 8 to 10 million cubic feet of gas per day once compression installed.



To be drilled



To be drilled

Topics: Cheal Production Facility, exploration well, Mt. Messenger, Urenui, Taranaki, Cheal-C site, Sidewinder Production Facility, Cheal Oil Field, Sidewinder Discovery, drilling

Keeping infrastructure apace with oil and gas discoveries

Posted by Denise della Santina on Mar 6, 2012 11:16:00 AM

Cheal Production FacilityTAG Oil’s drilling success has surpassed its facility capabilities, so we’re investing in infrastructure expansion to help us bring all production on stream. The expansion will also help to commercialize future discoveries without delay.

After drilling 14 successful oil and gas wells in a row, combined with our ongoing Taranaki drilling program, it became necessary to expand Cheal’s infrastructure, including:

  • Triple oil-lifting capacity;
  • Triple gas compression capacity;
  • Build a gas plant at Cheal capable of stripping LPG and liquid hydrocarbons from Cheal gas;
  • Build the Cheal-C site oil battery to establish permanent production from recent Cheal-C discoveries, as well as allow for future development;
  • Add new pipelines to tie the Cheal-C site to the Cheal-A site and add a new 6,000 meter pipeline from Cheal to New Zealand’s open access gas transmission line to maximize marketability of TAG’s gas production;
  • Establish TAG as a third-party gas processor in Taranaki.

Topics: Cheal Production Facility, Cheal-C site, Cheal Oil Field, third-party gas processor

TAG Oil CEO & Controller visit the field

Posted by Kris Clark on Feb 9, 2012 8:18:00 AM

On a recent trip to Taranaki New Zealand, TAG Oil CEO Garth Johnson and Controller Dan Brown snapped some photos for the blog. They were down under for meetings with the technical team and local community leaders, and of course, to experience the new developments at TAG's Cheal and Sidewinder oil and gas discovery areas first-hand. 

Ensign Rig set up to drill Cheal B7
The Ensign Rig getting set up to drill Cheal -B7, TAG's follow-up to the highly successful B5 well. Cheal-B5 had the most extensive pay interval ever recorded by a Cheal well, and the highest flow rate recorded from from a Mt. Messenger well.

Executive Assistant Dan Brown in front of B5
TAG Controller Dan Brown stands proudly in front of the Cheal-B5 wellhead. As announced December 5th, TAG perforated and flow tested 20 meters of continuous oil-and-gas pay in the Cheal-B5 well, in the 35 meters of net pay intercepted within the primary Mt. Messenger Formation. Today it’s still going strong. 

CEO Garth Johnson and Lead Engineer Jack Doyle
Lead engineer Jack Doyle and CEO Garth Johnson, in front of the Cheal-C2 discovery well. This important step-out well in TAG's C-block discovery area flow tested ~14 million cubic feet per day (~2,333 BOE/day) on a 48/64" choke, with associated condensate production increasing during testing. Located about 3.5 km's NW of TAG's Cheal-B5 well, it significantly extends the known oil-and-gas saturation area within TAG’s Cheal permit. The success of Cheal-C2 also adds another high-impact target to TAG's prospect portfolio in the Mt. Messenger and Urenui formations.

New Plymouth's Sidewinder Facility
A shot of the loading arm at the Sidewinder Facility: used to fill the oil tank in the background with oil produced from TAG’s successful Sidewinder exploration wells drilled in late 2011.  

Topics: Mt. Messenger, Taranaki, Cheal-C site, Cheal Oil Field, oil and gas production, Sidewinder Discovery

Cheal-B5 discovery well perf photos

Posted by Denise della Santina on Dec 7, 2011 5:54:00 PM

This has been a busy and exciting couple of weeks for TAG at our Cheal permit: in less than 30 days we tested Cheal-B5 (the third well in our current 10-well drilling campaign) and got it on full time production.

We didn’t know what the results would be at the time of these photos, but after perforation we flow tested 20 meters of continuous oil-and-gas pay within the 35 meters of net pay intercepted in the primary Mt. Messenger target. This is the most extensive pay interval ever recorded by a Cheal well, and includes record porosities of up to 30% and a record 60% total gas kick encountered while drilling.

Over the five-day test period, the discovery well was naturally flowing at an average rate of 1,870 barrels of oil equivalent a day, that’s 1,700 barrels of oil and 1.0 million cubic feet of gas per day flowing through a 40/64" choke. These shots are of perfing day.

Carey Davis TAG
TAG's Carey Davis kisses the firing bar for luck.
Dropping the firing bar
Dropped the bar...
Took an hour and a half for the firing bar to drop the 1700m.
Everyone grabs something metal on the rig to feel the shots fire. It took nearly a minute-and-a-half for the firing bar to drop the 1700m.
The crew waits for a pressure response.
Guns just fired…no immediate pressure response. Big gas wells almost always give immediate pressure response. Could it be oil?
A minute after perforation, pressure starts to build.
Waiting nervously for pressure response…and a minute after perforation the pressure starts to build. We knew then the news would be good.
Mt. Messenger's B-Site expansion, making room for more B wells
B-Site expansion: making room for more B wells.

Topics: Mt. Messenger, Cheal-C site, Cheal Oil Field

Cheal-C site testing photos

Posted by Denise della Santina on Nov 26, 2011 7:10:00 AM

New photos of the Cheal-C site are just in from the field. The wellhead in the center with the protection around it is the Cardiff-2A-ST1, which discovered deep liquid-rich gas.

Blog C Site

Mini-Cheal set up for testing. This is it, starting from right: rented silver heater unit (runs on C2 gas), rental pump (blue), rental conditioning unit (green), and TAG’s silver heated storage tank.
Cheal-C1 and Cheal-C2 wells
The Cheal-C1 and Cheal-C2 wells: The red high pressure hose gets gas from C2 to heat our power fluid, and pipes bring the heated power fluid in—and oil out—on the C1 wellhead.
Jack Doyle, TAG Oil
Jack Doyle, TAG's head of engineering directs the team from Horizon.
Tank dipA tank dip is the only way to measure production for now.

Topics: Cardiff, Cheal-C site, Jack Doyle