Representatives of oil giant Shell and its joint venture partners in the Great South Basin exploration arrive in Dunedin today to visit local businesses and industry leaders.
While Shell has announced tentative plans to drill in the Great South Basin in the summer of 2014-15, all eyes are on whether it has picked up more southern, offshore exploratory blocks in the latest round of block tenders.
Shell officials have visited Dunedin on several occasions, raising its corporate profile and assessing business services, but local sources are not aware of any imminent announcements.
Shell has been reluctant to comment on whether it took part in the 2012 tender process.
The 2012 tenders to Government permitting agency New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals closed in October and are expected to be announced in coming weeks.
Shell has been analysing drill data from the 1970s and 1980s, plus its own hydrographic survey data this year, noting in September that only gas was expected to be found in the licensed area. Separately, in September US oil producer Anadarko committed to deep-sea test drilling the first of possibly two oil and gas exploration holes off Oamaru.