Maari Oilfield Tenders Close Before Final Go-Ahead Given

Tenders for the $400 million Maari crude oil field project offshore Taranaki closed at the end of July according to a statement by one of the development partners, Horizon Oil International Ltd.

Austrian-based operator OMV New Zealand Ltd and partners, are due to make a final investment decision (FID) within the next two months on the 50 million barrel development.

In its fourth quarter report to June 30, 2005, Horizon says that tender packages have been issued for the main components of the development — the wellhead platform, the FPSO, and the drilling contract - in order to have firm bid prices before making a final financial investment decision.

Concurrently with the tender process, the joint venture is discussing a draft field development plan and mining permit application with the relevant Government authorities to assure timely approvals, Horizon said.

If a positive decision to go ahead with the project is made, the award of contracts and material purchase orders could proceed.

Earlier in the year, Horizon stated that the Maari subsurface development plan was finalized with horizontal wells through the main Moki Formation reservoir and a planned waterflood scheme.

Horizon says the current development concept is for a minimal facilities wellhead platform rather than a jack-up drilling and production unit (DPU), which was an earlier option. The platform will use a moored floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel. The FPSO will process and store oil and periodically offload to tankers.

The development will include the flexibility to tie-in the Maari M2A level reservoir and the separate smaller Manaia structure about 6 km southwest of Maari, where the Maui-4 well flowed oil at the time of the original Maui field discovery.

OMV holds a 69% interest in the Maari permit (PEP 38413), which lies about 80 km off the Taranaki coast, south of the Maui field. Wellington-based Todd Petroleum Mining Co. Ltd holds a 16% interest, along with two Australian-based explorers Horizon Oil and Highlands Oil & Gas Ltd-a subsidiary of Cue Energy, which hold 10% and 5% respectively