Maari Project 40% Complete

The Maari oil project in offshore South Taranaki has progressed to 40% complete but the arrival of the jackup to drill the production wells has been delayed a further three months, one of the Maari partners Horizon Oil says.

Brent Emmett, chief executive officer of Sydney-based Horizon which is a 10% partner in the OMV-operated Maari field (PMP 38 160) says in Horizon's March quarter report that the wellhead platform was 54% complete while the refit of the FPSO vessel Raroa was 55% complete.

Shorebase facilities in New Plymouth have also been acquired for the duration of the project.

Mr. Emmett says the Ensco 107 contracted for the development drilling as well as an appraisal well on the satellite Manaia structure (PEP 38 413), is now not expected on location before March 2008, some three months later than scheduled.

Horizon says the joint venture is examining ways of mitigating the effects of this delay and to minimize the delay in the timing of first oil. The scheduled date for first oil had been April 2008.

The Maari partners have confirmed the project's development concept involved drilling five production and three injection horizontal wells. Reserves from other Maari zones and the Manaia structure are to be appraised during development drilling phase.

Horizon says one clear option will be to turn the development wells to the tanker progressively as they are completed. The wellhead platform being constructed by Clough Ltd is scheduled to be installed from November 2007 with the FPSO being supplied and operated by Tanker Pacific is to be in place by March 2008.

Mr. Emmett says the capital cost of the Maari oil field development has increased by $US54 million to $US419 million including contingencies. The cost increase is almost entirely due to a revised erection method to raise the platform tower using creeper jacks rather than a crane plus the cost of the work acceleration plan to maintain wellhead platform schedule.

Work on the FPSO Raroa is on schedule, with good progress recently on the mooring and process module fabrication. Repair and life extension work on the vessel, which is being carried out in the Jurong yard in Singapore, is well advanced.

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