The Malaysian oil and gas company Tamarind Resources, which took control of the maturing Tui oil fields operation in the offshore Taranaki plans to start an offshore drilling programme with five new wells in early 2019.
Fairfax Media reported that Tamarind, which was offices in New Plymouth, has lodged marine consent applications with the Environment Protection Authority to drill five sidetrack development wells in the Tui field.
The company’s New Zealand country manager Jason Peacock said the drilling programme was scheduled to start in the first half of 2019 but would depend on other factors including completion of the consent submission process, and availability of equipment and plant.
The drilling should be completed under permit PMP 38158 and Tamarind said it is not affected by the Labour Coalition Government's recent announcement to halt permits.
The company's application, including a 230 page impact assessment report, was lodged with the EPA in March and notified to accept public submissions from May 4 to June 18.
Reporter Mike Watson said Tamarind has sought consent to drill up to four of its existing five wells in the Tui Field, as well as consent to discharge “hazardous” materials from the semi-submersible drill rig during the drilling process.
Watson reported that Tamarind had considered drilling new wells but opted to use existing wells to lessen the environmental impact, and drilling duration.
The company submission concluded there would be no impact on fish and marine life from the discharge of material from the rig, and only minimal to no impact from noise, vibration, turbidity and disturbance to marine life from drilling.
There are five producing oil wells - Pateke 3H, Pateke 4H, Amokura 2H, Tui 2H and Tui 3H in the Tui Field - up to 125 metres deep. Each well is connected to the Umuroa, a 240m long converted oil tanker, to an offshore floating production storage and offloading facility (FPSO), which processed up to 120,000 barrels a day of oil and water, 50 kilometres off the coast.
The Tui Field currently produces 2,200 barrels a day of oil after initial production reached 50,000 barrels a day in 2007 Oil and gas production in the field had declined over the past decade and gas injection was now needed to enable the wells to flow.
Over the past 12 years about $400 million had been invested in exploration and development of Tui, with royalties returning $573 M in 2016, and taxes from profits from companies then involved reaching $285m M.
The Fairfax report said the oil and gas industry in Taranaki pumped $2.79 billion in GDP to the national economy, with exploration and development activities contributing $1.74 B, and 8,400 jobs were created.