Maui B Oilfield to End Next Year with Sale of FPSO

The Maui B oil processing vessel the Whakaaropai FPSO (Floating Production, Storage and Offloading) is to finish operations for the Maui joint venture in the first half of 2006.

Shell Todd Oil Services Ltd (STOS), operator of the Maui field, said the ship will be sold to a Norwegian company, Bassoe FPSO AS, based in Oslo.

The transfer of ownership is scheduled to occur in the first half of next year following completion of production operations.

STOS said the new owners plan to tow the vessel to an Asian shipyard for refurbishment prior to it being re-commissioned in the oil industry. The sale was the result of a global marketing strategy handled by UK-based offshore shipbrokers Kennedy Marr Ltd.

STOS said the FPSO will soon be surplus to requirements because of declining oil production, after a very successful oil reserves recovery campaign.

Following the departure of the FPSO, the Maui B field oil wells will be converted to gas wells, enabling additional gas recovery into the Maui gas gathering system.

STOS said there will be positions available elsewhere within the company for all FPSO staff.

Production of crude oil from Maui B began in September 1996 and the field has been New Zealand’s most prolific producer of crude. Before Maui B oil, the Maui field was producing condensate at fewer than 7 million barrels a year. But in 1997, total Maui oil and condensate output rose to 16.6 million barrels. Since then, production of Maui oil, condensate, and naptha has declined to the 2004 level of 5.1 million barrels.

The Maui Joint Venture consists of Shell 83.75%, OMV New Zealand 10%, and Todd Petroleum (Mining) 6.25%.