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Todd plans Kapuni drilling campaign

Friday 20th September 2019

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Todd Energy is preparing for a new round of drilling to extend reserves and production at the onshore Kapuni gas field.

The company acquired full control of the country’s oldest gas field in August 2017. The drilling, planned for early 2021, will be the first under Todd’s operatorship and the first since former partner Shell completed an appraisal programme in 2013.

Work for a new well-site – Kapuni J – is underway and will be completed in the first half of next year. The site, about three kilometres north of the Kapuni processing facility, is consented for up to 12 wells, only some of which will be drilled in 2021.

Taranaki’s onshore gas resources have taken on greater importance since the government’s ban on new offshore exploration in April 2018.

Spot gas prices are roughly twice those a year ago and earlier this month energy research house Enerlytica said significant investment will be required to correct shortages already developing in industrial gas supplies. OMV, the country’s biggest gas producer, has kicked off a $500 million-plus programme to increase production from the offshore Pohokura and Maui fields it operates.

Kapuni was discovered by the Shell BP Todd consortium west of Eltham in 1959 and came into production a decade later. Its annual production peaked at about 70 petajoules before the larger Maui field came on stream in 1979.

Kapuni delivered about 8.8 PJ of gas last year and was estimated at the start of this year to still have about 143 PJ of proven and probable gas reserves. Contingent resources – known but considered uneconomic, or possibly needing new technology to deliver – were estimated at 784 PJ. New Zealand used about 168 PJ of gas last year.

Todd Energy – through its Nova business - is the biggest supplier in the industrial and commercial gas market.

It has spent the past six years on a development drilling programme at its more northerly Mangahewa field near Waitara as part of a long-term contract to supply Methanex. Fracking and well-testing at its final site – Mangahewa G - was scheduled to start this month.

Todd is keen to apply the expertise it has gained from its Mangahewa programme at Kapuni. It is also keen to provide more of the gas-fired peaking generation needed to back-up the country’s expanding wind and solar assets.

The company plans to commission a 100-megawatt gas-fired peaking plant south of New Plymouth next year. It also has consent to build a series of peakers – up to a combined 360 MW – at Otorohanga.


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