Tuesday 22nd October 2019
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OMV plans further maintenance at the Pohokura gas field next year, which may reduce production from the offshore portion of the field.
The company, which took over as field operator in December, had already signalled a two-week shutdown of Pohokura’s onshore processing plant in late March. It is now planning a proactive inspection of the field’s offshore pipeline ahead of a mandatory recertification of the asset in mid-2020.
OMV says that, apart from the March shutdown, production from the field’s three onshore wells should continue throughout the inspection programme.
“It is, however, possible that the inspection may identify remedial action that requires offshore outages in order to undertake the work,” the company said on the Gas Industry Company’s website. “The exact duration and timing of any offshore shutdown periods will remain subject to the final plan meeting regulatory requirements, as well as operational and weather-related impacts.”
Pohokura is the country’s biggest gas field and contributed close to a third of the country’s supplies last year. Reduced gas supplies – due to a series of planned and unplanned shutdowns at Pohokura and other fields in the past 18 months – have kept average wholesale electricity prices above $100 a megawatt-hour for most of the past year.
March-quarter electricity futures prices are also high due to maintenance work planned by Transpower on the high-voltage link across Cook Strait early next year. That will reduce capacity on the link – which usually delivers power to the North Island - by a third to a half from January through to early February. On four Saturdays there will be no inter-island power transfers.
March-quarter Otahuhu electricity futures settled yesterday at $154.95/MWh.
OMV is the country’s biggest gas producer, having acquired Shell’s stake in Pohokura and the offshore Maui field in December 2018.
Production from Pohokura was slashed twice last year. A leak in the offshore pipeline caused a four-month shutdown that halved production until July. Offshore production was again halted in September for work on a faulty valve on the production platform off the coast from Waitara.
OMV says it has been reviewing the 2018 pipeline work and is still designing the scope of next year’s inspection and maintenance programme which is targeted for the first and second quarters. It is hoping to complete its plan in December.
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