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May 4 2015
Commentary - Take only memories

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Key Personnel - Southern Arc Board Appointment
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

February 27 2015
Commentary - Winter of discontent

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Commentary - Nee-Gon-ee

October 28 2014
Commentary - The games we play between our ears

October 22 2014
Commentary - Sum of the parts

April 1 2014
Commentary - A mouth full of sand

February 10 2014
Commentary - Has the great experiment run its course?

January 17 2014
Commentary - Let's turn on the lights

December 30 2013
Commentary - A chance to play

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Commentary - Easy for her to say

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Commentary - Nests of nests

December 6 2013
Commentary - I belong to something…

November 29 2013
Commentary - Multiple personality order

November 22 2013
Commentary - A reasoned response?

November 15 2013
Commentary - Scarcely visible threads

November 8 2013
Commentary - Myths and mythtakes

October 18 2013
Commentary - Um… like… you know…

October 11 2013
Commentary - Something to say… more often

September 3 2013
Commentary - Note to a Grade 9 student on the first day

July 26 2013
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - West Lombok, Eagle Hill, and the Market
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

June 29 2013
Eagle Hill - Singing (and dancing) in the rain
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

June 20 2013
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - Southern Arc Minerals – the path forward
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

June 18 2013
Company Files
New Zealand Energy Corp.
Amended deal for Waihapa

June 12 2013
Commentary - Who will govern?

June 11 2013
Commentary - Only a day away

June 4 2013
Company Files
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TAG Oil to take over NZEC!

May 7 2013
Key Personnel - If I have to explain...
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

April 12 2013
Commentary - Déjà vu all over again

February 25 2013
Company Files
New Zealand Energy Corp.
Stockhouse forum fumbles – New Zealand Energy Corp

January 2 2013
Commentary - Numbers don't lie…

December 17 2012
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - State of the Nation
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

December 7 2012
Commentary - The journey is the thing

November 16 2012
Commentary - J'accuse

November 12 2012
Commentary - Of goblins and short cuts

November 6 2012
Company Files
New Zealand Energy Corp.
Kapuni – huh? Tell me more…

October 29 2012
Commentary - Fallen leaves...

October 2 2012
Commentary - King of the Hill

August 31 2012
Commentary - Victim → Survivor → Thriver

August 2 2012
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - Rope-a-dope
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

July 23 2012
Guest Article
Stan Zalewski
Craig Schwartz

July 4 2012
Commentary - Let the scum burn!

June 28 2012
Company Files
New Zealand Energy Corp.
Quarterly snorting – but we've always done it that way!

June 25 2012
Commentary - "Boy… have I got pictures!"

June 20 2012
Venture Exchange
Insider Trading Summary Reports

June 13 2012
Company Files
New Zealand Energy Corp.
House Rules

April 5 2012
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - Coulda, shoulda, woulda… the Southern Arc Opportunity Cost
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

April 2 2012
Commentary - If we lose the Middle East…

March 29 2012
Commentary - Or maybe I'm suffering from second-hand toke…

March 27 2012
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - Peek-a-boo
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

March 22 2012
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - Political risk in Indonesia – another perspective
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

March 11 2012
Company Files
New Zealand Energy Corp.
Value in the Taranaki Basin (video)

March 10 2012
Toolbox - End of Period Valuation of a Collection of Wells

March 1 2012
Commentary - All women are beautiful…

February 28 2012
Commentary - The jury is… without me!

February 25 2012
Company Files
New Zealand Energy Corp.
A choke and a spitball (video)

February 22 2012
Company Files
New Zealand Energy Corp.
The art of the promise

February 19 2012
Venture Exchange - A better way to invest on the Venture Exchange

February 09 2012
Company Files
New Zealand Energy Corp.
NZEC – what's going on?

February 06 2012
Commentary - Of rights and responsibilities

February 02 2012
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - Have I got a stock tip for you!
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

January 19 2012
Recommended Reading
I like a good mystery

January 13 2012
Commentary - Shawn Ryan says YES YOU CAN!

January 10 2012
Recommended Reading
A Tale of Two Employees

January 09 2012
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - The demons within… or choose your battles carefully
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

January 03 2012
Guest Article
Money is time: Chris Bart responds
Chris Bart

December 22 2011
Commentary - Money is time

December 14 2011
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - Mud puddles at your feet
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

December 13 2011
Company Files
New Zealand Energy Corp.
NZEC – what you know and who you know

November 17 2011
Recommended Reading
Steve Jobs: Obsessed… or possessed?

November 05 2011
Recommended Reading
The Rare Find – spotting exceptional talent before everyone else

November 02 2011
Links of Interest
Gold ready to attack prior highs in the 1900’s
David Banister

October 29 2011
Commentary - Desperadoes and thieves

October 27 2011
Links of Interest
A rally for gold
David Banister

October 17 2011
Commentary - Like silent raindrops fell…

October 12 2011
Commentary - Go to pancake mix

October 03 2011
Commentary - Idle hands are the devil’s tools

September 30 2011
Commentary - Choosing the best tool

September 25 2011
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - I have nothing more to say…
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

September 14 2011
Links of Interest
Gold heading to $2,350 per ounce after 4th wave consolidation
David Banister

September 12 2011
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - The Rule of Law on West Lombok
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

September 11 2011
Commentary - Bill and Bella

September 7 2011
Links of Interest
Bull Market In Gold Over With Double Top?
David Banister

September 5 2011
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - Perception versus reality
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

September 3 2011
Commentary - Five Star Help!

August 27 2011
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - One leads to the other, of course!
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

August 20 2011
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - Multiple tens of dollars
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

July 27 2011
Commentary - Shoot the middleman!

July 20 2011
Commentary - Critical conversation

July 08 2011
Properties - West Lombok - Way Linggo and its relevance to Southern Arc (video)
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

June 22 2011
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - Connecting the dots
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

June 14 2011
Simplify Insider Trading Reports

June 03 2011
Links of Interest
Crucial Pivot Point for the CDNX Index in Canada

June 01 2011
Toolbox - What’s the grade between the highlights?

June 01 2011
Toolbox - Calculating Tonnage

May 31 2011
Commentary - A Revolution in Education

May 29 2011
Comparative Companies - East Asia Minerals (EAS.V) - Somebody’s gonna be pissed!
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

May 15 2011
Properties - West Lombok - Pelangan - Remember though. I’m just an English major.Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

April 29 2011
Links of Interest
Where next for Gold-Silver and the SP 500 Indexes?
David Banister

April 19 2011
Feedback on 'A=B'

April 14 2011
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - Pelangan and Mencanggah: IF A=B and IF B=C, then…
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

March 13 2011
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - Say “Hello” to my little friend!
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February 13 2011
Commentary - Trust me!

February 12 2011
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - All Systems 'Go!'
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January 31 2011
Key Personnel - Mate in Three?
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January 19 2011
Feedback on 'Sunday Afternoon'

January 17 2011
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - A Pleasant Sunday Afternoon
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

January 17 2011
Properties - Pelangan Drilling Results Released
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January 17 2011
Properties - West Lombok IUP Issued
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December 9 2010
To Suppress or Not to Suppress

December 8 2010
Feedback on 'Relationships'

December 7 2010
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - Relationships
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

November 24 2010
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - Big Picture… Little Picture – another walk around the barn
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

November 24 2010
Properties - Taliwang - Southern Arc and Newcrest Sign a Heads of Agreement
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November 24 2010
Key personnel - Mike Andrews
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

November 12 2010
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - Straight and to the Point
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

November 12 2010
Properties - Tirtomoyo/Karang Tengah
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

October 29 2010
Indonesia - The "Fifth BRIC"
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

October 28 2010
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - What’s Southern Arc worth?
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

October 7 2010
Key personnel -Insider Trading Summary Report
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

October 4 2010
Properties - East Elang/ Sabalong - Southern Arc Strikes First Joint Venture Deal
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

September 15 2010
Toolbox: In Situ Valuation Calculator

September 10 2010
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - Various and Sundry
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

August 30 2010
Properties - West Lombok Maps Update
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (map update)

July 12 2010
Properties - Taliwang - Taliwang IUP Issued
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

July 12 2010
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - Bureaucratic
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

June 8 2010
Risk assessment/Risk reduction - Fundamentals - Nickel Oil & Gas Corp.
Southern Arc Minerals Inc. - Main page (updated)

June 7 2010
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March 30 2010
Recommended Reading
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March 23 2010
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March 22 2010
Size and staying power...

March 14 2010
… but the greatest of these is charity!

October 23 2009
New Additions to Library

September 10 2009

September 9 2009
Just one more barrel of flour

June 30 2009
Survey Reports
Impact Silver Corp (updated)

June 19 2009
Guest Article
If I'm So Smart, How Come
I Don't Run PIMCO?

Gabriel Gray

June 19 2009
Is Indonesia ready to play
in the big leagues?

Kevin Graham

April 9 2009
Short Selling is Bad
for the Market

April 2 2009
Epithermal Gold for Explorationists

March 31 2009
Epithermal Deposits –
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March 31 2009
Epithermal gold deposits, geothermal systems and volcanoes

March 22 2009
Southern Arc Minerals – Valuations for Selodong

February 12 2009
Guest Article
The Obama Stimulus:
All Porked Up and
Nowhere to Go

Gabriel Gray

December 27 2008
Canadian Crisis?
Give me a Break!

December 23 2008
Wheel of Misfortune

December 16 2008
Metal Markets?
Go East Old Man!

November 29 2008
You can get it wrong and still you think that it’s all right

October 31 2008
Winners and Losers

September 19 2008
The Indonesia Factor, or… Can’t see the Forestry for the Greed

September 10 2008
Survey Reports
Impact Silver Corp (updated)

September 9 2008
Survey Reports
Silvermex Resources

August 6 2008
Survey Reports
Oroco Resource Corp.

July 15 2008
Southern Arc and
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July 10 2008
Guest Article
I May Be Drunk, But You're A Nincompoop.
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June 20 2008
The TSX Venture Exchange: Fire in the Hole!

June 16 2008
Pediment readies itself for a major step forward

June 10 2008
Survey Reports
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June 4 2008
Mining Company Survey Form

June 2 2008
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May 30 2008
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May 30 2008
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Impact Silver Corp

May 27 2008
Survey Reports
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May 26 2008
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May 26 2008
Guest Article
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May 22 2008
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due diligence loses

May 22 2008
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May 21 2008
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May 20 2008
Insider Holdings Summary Reports

May 12 2008
Guest Article
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May 8 2008
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May 6 2008
Insider Trading Summary Reports

May 6 2008
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May 5 2008
Insider Trading – Transparency for Lay Investors?

April 28 2008
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April 24 2008
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April 23 2008
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April 17 2008
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April 9 2008
Hard Rock Miner’s Handbook and Rules of Thumb

April 8 2008
An Introduction to Geology and Hard Rock Mining

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April 4 2008
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April 3 2008
Required Reading
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March 31 2008
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March 28 2008
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March 24 2008
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Toolbox: Cubing the Hole


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NZEC – what you know and who you know

December 13, 2011

Disclosure: I hold a modest quantity of shares of New Zealand Energy Corp. (NZ.V).

Know the jockey

Through my acquaintance with John Proust (CEO of my favourite investment, Southern Arc Minerals – SA.V), late last year I became aware of a new venture, targeting oil and gas in New Zealand. Cautious to jump the gun with a story that may not materialize, I’ve held off writing about it, watching developments and waiting to see something of substance. Stories are one thing. Results are quite another. The substance has now arrived. More on that in a moment. First, a bit of history.

Beginning in early 2010, Proust expanded his existing base of contacts in New Zealand, with an aim to identify, qualify, and acquire highly prospective permits. The Company now holds an impressive nearly two million acres of prospects, including 152,000 acres in the Taranaki Basin. The balance is held in the East Coast Basin, a topic which I will hold for another time.


My focus here will be on recent developments in the two Taranaki Basin permits, the Eltham and the Alton, with particular attention to the Eltham. These permits are located on the west coast of the north island, some 220 km NNW of Wellington. NZEC holds a 50% interest in the Alton permit and a 100% interest in the Eltham permit.

Backing out for a moment, the Taranaki Basin is currently the only producing region for New Zealand, with 55,000 bbl/day in crude oil and 460 million cf/day in natural gas, for a BOE/day of 130,000 (2009). The Eltham and Alton permits are surrounded (stress that word, 'surrounded') by producing fields, with approximately 18,000 BOE/day.

Know the path

The Eltham permit comprises about 92,000 acres, of which about 32,000 acres is offshore (with an approximate water depth of 20 metres). The acquisition of this permit is sweet in itself, like the oil. The permit was at risk, with incomplete drilling work as per the previous holder’s agreement with the Crown. Explorers and producers in the region were all sitting quietly, waiting for the permit to expire so they could bid on it. Proust and friends chose a different path. Rather than engaging in a bidding competition, they approached the holder of the permit, and with approval of the Crown, agreed to drill and complete the well in question. This would satisfy the activity requirement with the government and relieve the permit holder of a question mark beside his name. While all the major players in the area sat on the sidelines waiting, Proust’s team completed the well on time (against all predictions), and had the permit signed over. The cost? NZ$10 for the permit plus the cost of drilling and completing the well. Hmmm… sweet indeed.

Know the people who know

NZEC established contact with Ian R. Brown Associates, specialists in seismic exploration for oil and gas, and based in Wellington. IRBA had developed an extensive proprietary seismic database for the region, including both available prospects and producing fields (see the image, below). This element is key, as it allows the firm to study comparative findings for neighbouring producers, and to guide drilling activity toward matching data. Rather than engage IRBA as a contractor, NZEC opted instead to acquire the firm, its database, and the services of key employees, including Ian Brown. In exchange, $400,000 and 2 million shares in the newly formed company changed hands.

In late August of this year, NZEC announced an initial 48 hour test of its Copper Moki-1 well, showing 1,100 barrels per day and 855 mcf natural gas. The extended production test revealed 521 barrels of oil and 508 mcf of natural gas per day.

Know your neighbours

TAG Oil is a Canadian-listed explorer/producer (TSX: TAO), operating exclusively in New Zealand. Market capitalization is approximately $400 million (about four times that of NZEC – this defines investor target number one, I should think). Their corporate presentation cites exposure to 100 million bbls OOIP (Original Oil In Place) for Taranaki. Compare this to 730 million bbls OOIP reported for the combined NZEC Eltham and Alton permits. While OOIP is not a reliable predictor for what you're ultimately going to extract from the ground, it is a reliable data point for making relative comparisons across properties. Better still, when the comparisons are drawn from same-source data (in this case, AJM Petroleum Consultants), these comparisons are of significant value.

TAG Oil’s Taranaki onshore permits comprise approximately 23,000 acres, in comparison to 120,000 for NZEC. Acknowledging that land size is just land size, I would suggest that we’re not talking about moose pasture here. Remember… the two NZEC Taranaki permits are surrounded by currently producing fields.

TAG’s Cheal discovery is immediately to the northwest of NZEC’s Copper Moki-1 well. Not coincidentally, I suspect, with the August announcement of that well’s success, TAG drilled its own new Cheal B-5 well, just 3 km away.

For a look at the formations from TAG's perspective, see the link: http://www.tagoil.com/popup.asp?id=cheal_formations.

On December 5th, TAG announced the extended production test results from their Cheal B-5 well: 1,700 barrels of oil and 1.0 million cubic feet of gas per day.

On first blush, you may say that TAG hit the better well, compared to Copper Moki-1 (1700 barrels versus 521 barrels). If you were watching TAG's stock price, you would have seen it rise from $5.04 on the trading day previous to the announcement to a high on December 9th of $7.68, settling to $7.10 for the close. $7.10 represents a gain on the week of 40.9%. In sympathy, NZEC rose 16.5% on the week, from $0.91 to $1.06 at the close on the 9th. Clearly, somebody saw the coattails action at work between the two.

Know the math

Given the higher production test results, it makes sense that TAG would rise more strongly in share price than NZEC. Well… the devil is in the details, as always. The flow rate of liquid through a tube is a function of two factors, pressure and diameter of the tube. TAG’s Cheal B-5 well was tested using a pipe diameter of 40/64". The Copper Moki-1 well was tested with a pipe diameter of just 20/64".

Time for a refresher in high school math. This difference is not a factor of two, as in, 40 is twice 20, but rather, a factor of four. The flow through the pipe is restricted by the area of the opening… the area of a circle. Area of a circle, you'll recall, is Pr2 (pi times the square of the radius). In other words, since radius is ½ of diameter, the area of TAG's pipe opening was 3.14 x ((40/64)/2)2, or 0.3066 square inches. In comparison, NZEC's pipe opening had an area of 3.14 x ((20/64)/2)2, or 0.0767 square inches. This provides for a significantly more restricted flow in the testing procedure. To be precise, TAG's pipe opening (all other matters being equal) would quadruple the measured flow rate. Now, all other matters are not equal, of course. That would be too easy. As the circle's area rises, the flow pressure declines. Think of playing with the garden hose and your thumb in the back yard. So… knock a bit off (this is what you call a thumbnail calculation) of the quadruple (2080 barrels/day) and you'll see Copper Moki-1 coming in at perhaps 1900 barrels/day.

I would stress that this is not my area of expertise… but – running with the narrow choke diameter can offer significant protection against the invasion of water into the production flow. Water is your worst enemy in this process. Using a wider choke diameter could allow water or natural gas to flow preferentially into the wellbore, and places the value of what is produced at risk as a result. Moreover, in extreme cases, the entire well could be placed at risk. Once water infiltrates, there's no going back. Just saying.

Having spoken just this morning with NZEC president, Bruce McIntyre, I can say that the plan is to proceed with caution in the weeks ahead. With continued success and consistent pressure, flow will be opened up gradually. We'll just have to wait and see what happens to the daily count. This said, I'm encouraged by the conservative approach taken by management.

My point? Things aren't always as they seem.

Where does that leave us in consideration of this investment? Well, the immediate next-door neighbour has a stated target of producing 2,500 bbls a day by year-end and they're sitting on a market cap at four times that of NZEC. A couple of weeks ago, I read that they were producing 1,000 bbls per day. If I'm reading recent NRs correctly, the Cheal B-5 well result is included in their report of current production at 2,700 bbls a day. NZEC has just one well, now in production at 580 (using a more restricted flow, as described above), and a same-basis land package five times as great and OOIP exposure seven times as great. The upside for this investment is huge. No way around that.

To summarize the comparison:

1.   - TAG Oil has a market cap of about $400 million

      - NZ has a market cap of about $100 million

2.   - TAG Oil's corporate presentation estimates daily production by year end (2011) of 2,500 BOE. Current levels need to be confirmed.

      - NZ just announced its first well in production conservatively at 580 BOE.

3.   - TAG Oil has 23,000 onshore acres in Taranaki.

      - NZ has 120,000 onshore acres in Taranaki.

4.   - AJM Petroleum Consultants estimates TAG Oil to have 100 million barrels OOIP in Taranaki.

      - AJM Petroleum Consultants estimates NZ to have 730 million barrels OOIP in Taranaki.

Do the math. Looking at these numbers, one might be forgiven for suggesting a factor of between 20 and 28 times current share price for NZ.V (4x5 or 4x7)… that is, if TAG is fairly priced in the market. Safe to say that I'm holding on to my shares.

It's early still, with two more wells in the works for the first quarter of 2012.

Infrastructure is in place with oil trucked to Shell's large facility 45 km from the site. As for the natural gas, Methanex has 60% unused capacity at its nearby production facility, with room for another 120 million cf/day. Maybe there's an opportunity there.

With oil sold at a premium to the Brent reference price, let's imagine the Company estimates of near-term operating netbacks in excess of $90 per barrel (see this morning's NR) as close to the mark. Forgetting about the natural gas component altogether, for the sake of conservatism, and forgetting about the conservative initial production flow rate compared to that of TAG Oil, we're talking about $19 million in annual net cash flow from the first well alone (The natural gas component would put this over $20 million per year.). Not a bad return for a company with a market cap in the range of $100 million and a land package to die for. Show me well numbers two and three (Q1/2012) matching with well number one and we're talking about a self-financed explorer/producer, operating in a country where you can be in profitable production within five months of your IPO (August 4, 2011).

Oh, and let's remember. We're not even beginning to think about the Company's 1.8 million acres in the East Coast Basin. This would include its Castlepoint permit where, after walking the grounds, you may need to wash the oil off your boots.

Just a little something to think about.


Kevin Graham

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