Tuesday 26th February 2019
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Tamarind Resources has been cleared to undertake a round of development drilling at the Tui oil field off the Taranaki coast.
A three-member board of inquiry has approved the company’s plan to drill up to five side-track wells from up to four of the existing wells in the field 50 kilometres offshore.
The board found that the activities would have no more than a minor adverse effect on the environment, except for relatively short and transient events.
“The event agreed to constitute the greatest hazard is that associated with loss of well control. However, we find that to be of such a low probability, and with sufficient risk management procedures in place, as to constitute a negligible risk in terms of both the activity under consideration and the time to complete that activity,” the board said in a summary of its 179-page decision.
“No known rare or endangered species will be affected.”
Kuala Lumpur-headquartered Tamarind last year booked the near-new Hai Yang Shi You 982, a modern semi-submersible rig, for the project it hoped to get underway this year.
It is 104 metres long, has accommodation for 180 people and can operate in 1,500 metres of water. It is also 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.
The board, comprising chair David Hill, Glenice Paine and Dan McClary, heard the application in November in a two-and-a-half day hearing managed by the Environmental Protection Authority.
Tui lies in about 125 metres of water and was the country’s biggest liquids producer when it was commissioned in mid-2007. It delivered almost 13.5 million barrels of oil in 2008, but that was down to 843,000 barrels in 2017, the latest annual government data available.
Tamarind, experts in late-life assets, bought out the former venture partners - AWE, New Zealand Oil & Gas and Pan Pacific Petroleum – in 2017. 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.
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