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Shell Todd seek consent to resume offshore drilling in Taranaki

Shell Todd seek consent to resume offshore drilling in Taranaki

By Mike Watson, May 30, 2017

Marine consents have been lodged by Shell Todd to use a mobile jack-up rig to resume drilling in the existing Maui natural gas field off the Taranaki coast.

The company lodged two consents with the Environmental Protection Agency to put in place and later remove a jack-up rig as part of its potential drilling programme in 2018-2019, a company spokeswoman said.

The rig will be positioned near the existing Maui A and B platforms between 35-50 kilometres offshore from the coastline.

A second consent is being sought to cover potential discharge of harmful substances from drains on the rig deck during drilling.

READ MORE: Work finished on $70 million Pohokura platform project

An earlier marine consent was granted to the company in 2015 for the Maui gas field in the South Taranaki Bight which did not extend to allowing a rig to operate.

The 35 year consent was granted to the company to extract, produce and transport natural gas and condensate in the Maui natural gas field.

The new application had been lodged because jack-up rigs were the preferred option since the previous consent was granted, the spokeswoman said.

The previous consent included the use of a platform and semi-tender assisted drilling, or semi-TAD rig, to support side-track drilling but not a jack-up rig for drilling.

An impact assessment report on the environmental effects to marine animals, water quality, fish and benthic communities varied between high and low.

Potential impacts on biological features, navigation, fisheries interests and human health were assessed as negligible to minor.

The report also assessed potential impacts on the environment during the installation, operation and removal of the rig as minor to medium.

Jack-up rigs use legs to stabilise the structure to the sea bed and allow raising and lowering of the platform.

Shell Todd Oil Services consulted with the community, including iwi before making the application, she said.

A 70m high jack-up rig, the ENZCO-107, was used as a maintenance base for work crews during a four month $70 million clean up of the Pohokura platform off Taranaki during 2015-2016.

The consent application was publicly notified on May 19 and submissions closed on June 14.

Hearings are expected to start in August and decision by the EPA would released in November.


Shell Todd Oil Services Limited (STOS)

STOS is a pioneering gas and oil operator that has been active in New Zealand for more than 50 years.

Based in the oil-rich region of Taranaki, on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island, STOS is owned by Shell Petroleum Mining and Todd Petroleum Mining who each hold a 50% stake in the company.

STOS operates a number of gas fields, production stations and a tank farm for joint venture partners including Shell, Todd Energy, and OMV.

These fields include Māui, and Kapuni, and it provides support to Pohokura’s operator Shell Exploration NZ limited. Collectively from these fields, STOS is responsible for producing the majority of New Zealand’s energy supply.

During its more than 50 years in operation, STOS has set operational, environmental and safety benchmarks in the New Zealand oil and gas industry. The company currently employs more than 300 local and expatriate personnel in a wide variety of roles including operations, sub-surface analysis, drilling, engineering and support services. It indirectly employs many more through a wide range of contractors.

STOS is a proud member of the Taranaki community and has a Goal Zero philosophy – no harm to people and protect the environment.

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