Maari Field Expected to Begin Production in 2005

The Maari oil field (PEP 38413) in the Taranaki Basin offshore New Zealand, which was confirmed as a commercial discovery in January, is expected to begin production in late 2005 at an initial rate of 30,000 barrels of oil a day, says Horizon Oil NL one of the joint venture partners.

Maari is located approximately 35 kilometers south of the Maui field and 120 kilometers southwest of New Plymouth in a water depth of approximately 100 meters.

The operator of the Maari permit is OMV New Zealand Ltd which holds a 69% interest. The other partners are Todd Petroleum Mining Company Ltd 16%, Horizon 10%, and Delta Oil Taranaki Pty Ltd 5%.

Horizon, formerly known as Bligh Oil & Minerals NL, says that development planning is underway.

An indicative development scheme would comprise horizontal producers supported with gas lift, horizontal water injectors, subsea wellheads and a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel.

Development capital expenditure, assuming leasing of the FPSO, would be approximately US$115 million.

Horizon says that results from the Maari-2 appraisal well in January show that the proven plus probable reserves for the principal Maari reservoir, the Moki Formation, "will considerably exceed" the pre-appraisal estimates of 35 million barrels of oil.

More work is required to quantify reserves in the shallower M2A sand level and the Mangahewa Formation. The nearby Manaia prospect to the southwest of Maari remains to be drilled by the current partners. The Maari and Manaia structures are simple dip-closed anticlines at all reservoir levels.