Kupe JV Completes Offshore Facilities, Awaits Onshore Completion

Origin Energy Resources (Kupe) Limited, on behalf of the Kupe Joint Venture, is pleased to announce the achievement of a major milestone in the Kupe Gas Project -- the completion of offshore facilities.

The offshore well head platform, three production wells and pipeline to shore, which are half the cost of the entire project, are now ready for production and await completion of the onshore production station next year before starting to flow gas and associated hydrocarbon liquids from the Kupe field.

"Three development wells are now connected to the platform and from mid 2009, once the onshore works are completed, will supply 15% of New Zealand's projected gas demand, 50% of the LPG demand and 14.7 million barrels of condensate over the projected life of the field," Kupe Project Director Peter Ashford said.

"All of these wells have all been production tested and high flow rates of gas and condensate have been demonstrated from each as expected."

"Completion of this part of the project is a credit to the project team, which includes development partners Technip, drilling management advisors Australian Drilling Associates and Ensco Drilling, as well as the local workforce and the wider community."

"It is also in large part due to the co-operation that we have received from many New Zealand companies and agencies, particularly in New Plymouth and in Picton."

The Kupe Gas Project received Government approval in June 2006 and the offshore program of work includes the fabrication and installation of a normally unmanned well head platform 30 kilometers offshore from South Taranaki; the drilling and testing of 3 wells on the well head platform; the fabrication and installation of a 12-inch pipeline to carry the well fluids from the wells to the production station situated on the cliff tops near Hawera; the fabrication and installation of an umbilical to carry power, controls and chemicals from the production station to the wellhead platform; and the drilling of two world record-length tunnels under the South Taranaki cliffs to carry the pipeline and umbilical.

The Kupe Gas Project will now focus on completing the onshore facilities and the production station in particular, to the agreed schedule and budget.

Importantly, the project has to date been free from significant injuries and environmental incidents.

Completion of the offshore components of the project means the Ensco 107 drilling rig has been released from the Kupe location. This rig is currently moving to a nearby location to drill the Momoho exploration well for the Joint Venture.

Kupe is located south of New Zealand's Taranaki Peninsula. Partners are operator Origin Energy (50%), Genesis Energy (31%), NZOG (15%) and Mitsui E&P NZ (4%).

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