Marauder Resources East Coast is gearing up for its Hawke's Bay oil-exploration programme with a $1.5 million share placement.
The listed Canadian company has won the exploration licence for a 965sq km area inland from Napier in a joint venture with Canadian Overseas Petroleum to explore "unconventional" shales in the Whangai formation in Hawke's Bay. The exploration area extends inland from the coast just north of Napier and as far south as State Highway 50, just north of Tikokino.
The licence area sits between two others being explored by fellow-Canadian TAG Oil, one near Gisborne, the other in central and southern Hawke's Bay, both of which have met opposition from local environmental groups who fear that TAG - and its Texan partner, Apache - might cause environmental harm if hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" as it is known, is used to unlock the hydrocarbons held in shale formations.
TAG/Apache was expected to drill four exploratory wells in 2013 onshore on the East Coast.
Companies granted exploration permits were obliged to explore because of use-it-or-lose-it contract clauses.
US-based Westech Energy New Zealand was granted a five-year extension to their Petroleum Exploration Permit in the Wairoa District in March.