Shell Completes Pohokura Field Development Offshore New Zealand

New Zealand's biggest natural gas and condensate field Pohokura just offshore from New Plymouth has been completed, operator Shell Exploration NZ Ltd announced on behalf of the joint venture owners.

The $1 billion Pohokura project, a joint venture between Shell (48%), Todd Energy (26%) and OMV (26%), has developed a field with estimated reserves of 884 PJ of natural gas and 44 mmbbls of condensate.

The field will supply approximately 40% of New Zealand's natural gas production. Pohokura gas reserves are approximately twice the remaining Maui field gas reserves.

The final milestone in the construction phase of the project was reached with the departure of the Ensco 56 jackup rig from the offshore platform where it arrived two years ago to erect the platform and drill offshore development wells from the platform to different parts of the field.

Pohokura field all lies offshore but all wells feed the onshore production station on the coast alongside the methanol plant at Motonui. The field was built in two stages. Three development wells, drilled from onshore into the southern end of the field, were completed in August 2006 and first gas was fed into the North Island network a month later.

Shell initially planned to drill six wells offshore, but found that five wells sufficient to deliver the reserves in place.

The offshore platform is remotely controlled and the onshore production station is also unattended. Shell says that both will be remotely controlled from Shell's New Plymouth offices.

Condensate, separated from the gas flow at the production station, is piped to storage tanks at Omata near New Plymouth for shipping to refineries.

The Ensco 56 rig was towed to the Nelson area from Pohokura for repairs and maintenance before beginning its next well for Texas-based Discovery Geo at Awakino South-1 off north Taranaki in the third quarter of 2008.

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