New Zealand O&G Production Not Affected by Large Quake

WELLINGTON - A magnitude-6.2 earthquake that hit south of New Zealand's most important oil and gas producing region hasn't impacted production at any of the major facilities, industry spokespeople confirmed Wednesday.

The earthquake struck off the west coast of New Zealand's North Island, just south of the Taranaki Basin, at a depth of 236.1 kilometers at 1036 GMT Tuesday, the U.S. Geology Survey said on its website.

Shona Geary, a spokeswoman for Royal Dutch Shell PLC, said checks had been done around their facilities but no damage had been found and there was no interruption to gas production at its Maui A or Maui B facilities in the Taranaki basin.

Shell-owned ventures in that area meet around 80% of New Zealand's gas needs.

New Zealand Oil & Gas, a joint venture partner with Origin Energy, Genesis Energy and Mitsui E&P Australia Pty Ltd in both the Tui Area Oil Fields and the Kupe Gas and Oil Field, said the operations hadn't sustained any damage, while Austrian oil company OMV AG said it operations in Taranaki had also not been disrupted.

"The earthquake was felt at the Raroa FPSO and wellhead platform. Everyone on board both facilities is accounted for and safe," OMV said in a statement. "As a precautionary measure, OMV will also conduct an underwater inspection of the Maari facilities including the subsea flowlines. Operations are continuing as normal."

New Zealand straddles a geologically unstable area across the South Pacific that is part of the so-called Ring of Fire. The country's second largest city, Christchurch, has been hit by around 10,000 earthquakes since a magnitude 7.0 quake hit the city on Sept. 4, 2010, causing around 30 billion New Zealand dollars (US $24 billion) worth of damage.

Although, Tuesday's earthquake was widely felt through the lower north island and upper south island no significant damage was sustained and the quake didn't trigger a tsunami alert. 

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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