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Tui field operator Tamarind opts for environmentally friendly rig

Wednesday 25th July 2018

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Tamarind Resources said the rig it has contracted for work at the Tui field next year is the most sophisticated of its type to operate in New Zealand waters.

The firm said it selected the newly-completed rig, the Hai Yang Shi You 982, because of its high efficiency and its strong environmental performance.

The vessel, built by China Oilfield Services, is the latest generation of semi-submersible rig and complies with the NORSOK standards developed by Norway’s oil and gas sector.

It is a zero-discharge rig, meaning no storm water run-off or deck drainage goes into the sea without first passing through the rig’s treatment systems.

Tamarind’s New Zealand country manager Jason Peacock said the depressed rig market meant the firm could have selected other cheaper vessels.

“This wasn’t the only rig, by a long distance, that we had available to us,” he said in an interview with BusinessDesk. 

“It was important that we brought a rig to New Zealand that was not only efficient but was also environmentally friendly.”

Tui lies in about 125 metres of water 50 kilometres off the Taranaki coast. It was the country’s biggest liquids producer when it was commissioned in mid-2007 and delivered almost 13.5 million barrels of oil in 2008. Last year that was down to 843,000 barrels, according to government data.

Tamarind, experts in late-life assets, bought out the former venture partners - AWE, New Zealand Oil & Gas and Pan Pacific Petroleum - last year. Low oil prices at the time meant the field could have faced decommissioning from the end of 2019.

Tamarind believed that with the right interventions production could be extended until 2022-2023.

Earlier this year it applied to the Environmental Protection Authority for marine consents for a side-track drilling programme next year. Tamarind has sought consent for at least three side-tracks – drilling from within the existing wells to drain untapped parts of the reservoir – and wants the option of drilling a fourth side-track and a potential exploration well.

A board of inquiry hearing is scheduled to start Nov. 6, with a decision expected early next year.

Tamarind said construction of the HYSY 982 began in November 2012. It was one of five harsh weather environment rigs that were built in a programme managed by COSL Drilling Europe.

It is 104 metres long, has accommodation for 180 people and can operate in 1,500 metres of water.

Tamarind wouldn’t disclose what it is paying for the rig. In April, rig operator Ensco said its floating rigs – including drill ships and semi-submersibles – averaged US$263,000 a day in the first quarter – 22 percent less than a year earlier.

Peacock said the HYSY 982 would be ideal for other New Zealand operators with approaching drilling commitments. COSL would probably also be interested in keeping it in Australian and New Zealand waters, he said.

(BusinessDesk)

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