Shell Todd Oil Services to Decommission Maui B FPSO

Shell Todd Oil Services has announced the decommissioning of its floating Maui B oil production vessel which will mean the end of crude oil production from New Zealand's largest oil as well as gas field.

STOS said that the Maui FPSO (floating production storage and offloading) vessel Whakaaropai which has been permanently moored near the Maui B platform since 1996. The exact decommissioning time is still to be confirmed though it could be as early as this summer.

Crude oil production levels have been steadily declining in recent years and have reached the point where the platform was no longer economical, STOS general manager Paul Zealand said.

"We've exhausted the oil. It has come to the end of its natural life," he said.

The depletion of Maui's oil reserves did not mean that there was any end in site for the production of Maui's natural gas, Mr. Zealand said.

Maui will also continue to produce light oil liquids in the form of condensate which is extracted from the gas flow.

The Whakaaropai was converted from a tanker specifically for the Maui role. Oil from wells at the Maui B fixed platform is fed to the FPSO where it is processed and stored on board until periodic offloading to other tankers.

Mr. Zealand said the installation will hopefully be of some interest to other oil productions facilities around the world. "It is worth a lot of money to someone who can use it, but at the other end it is only scrap."

STOS have employed a broker to market the platform internationally.

The company is looking redeploy the 25 staff employed on the project within the organization, Mr. Zealand said.