New Zealand's Maari Field Flows First Oil


ENSCO 107 Jackup
(Click to Enlarge)

OMV has announced first oil from Maari, New Zealand's largest oil field, located 80 km off Taranaki's south coast, operated by OMV New
Zealand in a joint venture with Todd Energy, Horizon Oil International Ltd and Cue Taranaki Pty Ltd. Over its 10-15 year life Maari is expected to produce some 50 million barrels of oil.

Helmut Langanger, OMV Executive Board member responsible for Exploration and Production stated, "New Zealand's largest oil field passed a significant milestone with oil flowing to the permanent production facilities for the first time. This field has the potential to establish OMV as the largest liquid producer in New Zealand."

"It's very satisfying to get to this point," said OMV New Zealand Managing Director Steve Hounsell. "I wish to thank OMV staff, our contractors and our partners for working hard to make this day possible."

The ENSCO 107 drilling rig has been in place at the Maari wellhead platform since November last year, to drill a total eight wells, five production and three water injectors. Two wells have been completed; the second one is currently being hooked up to the production facilities. The other production wells will progressively come on stream over the next few months.

Over the next two weeks, production testing will take place to ensure the floating production, storage and the offtake vessel, the Raroa, is ready to process the field's output. The vessel is anchored 1.5 km from the wellhead platform, Tiro Tiro Moana.

The Raroa's role is to separate the oil from any gas and water and provide temporary storage until tankers arrive to transfer the oil to refineries. The first offtake is expected to occur in April 2009.

Mr. Hounsell said the Maari development and subsequent production has also been great news for Taranaki and New Zealand, providing considerable spin-offs for these economies.

"We have been using local services as much as possible. Some 200 people have been working offshore during the installation phase of the facilities and the ongoing drilling operations. Longer term 60 people are expected to be employed to work offshore on the Raroa and as onshore support, most of whom are New Zealanders," said Mr. Hounsell.

"We have been running a supply boat to the offshore facilities every two to three days, shipping 40,000 kilos of food to our workers since the beginning of 2009 alone. We have been working together with various Taranaki based companies which have helped us with our engineering requirements and on fabrication and logistics aspects. The people working on our project have been staying at the various
hotels in New Plymouth making hotel accommodation at times quite scarce.

"The government too is a big winner through taxes and royalties," he added.

Field development, including some further appraisal drilling by the The ENSCO 107 drilling rig is expected to be completed by the third quarter of this year. The first oil flow marks just over 25 years since the Maari field was first discovered. Back then, the depth of the water, distance from shore and the waxy nature of the oil meant cost effective production was not possible.

Partners in the Maari Oil Field are OMV New Zealand Limited (operator, 69%); Todd Energy (16%); Horizon Oil International Ltd (10%); and Cue Taranaki Pty Ltd (5%).
 

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