Could the Maui Field Have an Extended Life?

The Maui field, which has been the backbone of New Zealand's oil and gas supply, may now have an extended life beyond 2009, according to New Zealand Crown Minerals.

Speaking at the New Zealand Petroleum Conference, OMV New Zealand managing director Steve Hounsell said that OMV and Shell are conducting Maari field development studies. He added that there would be some extended reach drilling linked to this development.

Hounsell expressed a degree of confidence that any new gas finds could see the joint venture "operating for some time." OMV holds 10 percent of Maui, with the balance held by the joint venture of Shell (83.7 percent) and Todd Energy (6.3 percent). Hounsell made the comment while responding to questions follwing a presentation focused mainly on the offshore Maari field.

Maari is projected to produce its first oil in March or April 2008 and be the linchpin for OMV to achieve an equity-based production from Taranaki operations in 2008 of almost 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, exceeding that figure in 2009. However, the equity production is then projected to slip unless new discoveries are made in existing fields, new joint ventures, or acquisitions.

OMV also has a 10-percent equity in the Pohokura onshore-offshore project, which will begin production this year. The Pohokura joint venture is made up of OMV (26 percent), Shell Exploration NZ (30 percent), Shell Petroleum Mining (18 percent), and Todd Pohokura (26 percent).

In a separate presentation, the deputy project manager of Shell Todd Oil Services Pohokura, Milan Hendrikse, said that initially Pohokura would produce from three onshore and six offshore wells, with the offshore platform now being prepared to be placed on the seabed. It was being built in New Plymouth and would be an unmanned platform without a helipad or crane.

Pohokura’s development could cost $NZ900 million ($US561.4 million) and is based on reserves of 900 bcf of gas and 50 mmbbls of condensate. The initial production target is 50 bcf of gas and 3 mmbbls of condensate. By 2015, output is projected to be down to 30 bcf of gas and 20 mmbbls. By 2025, it is estimated to be down to 12 bcf and 5 mmbbls.