AUSTRIA's OMV will wrap up its offshore exploration program in New Zealand earlier than planned, according to an OMV spokesperson.
Drilling is not considered an ‘essential service' under the Ardern government's country-wide lockdown, and subsequently there is little use in OMV continuing with its current six-well campaign in the Taranaki Basin.
New Zealand was plunged into a level 4 lockdown late last month in an effort to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus which has, so far, infected more than one million people worldwide. New Zealand has reported 71 new cases as of today.
OMV is expected to release the COSL Prospector rig this week, according to the New Zealand Herald.
Results from the Toutouwai-1 well will be available later this week or next. The next well in the campaign was Maui-8 but plans for the well have now been abandoned.
OMV's other activities on the Maui gas field, including drilling the Maui A Crestal infill well, have also been put on hold with the Archer's Emerald rig now being demobilised.
This week OMV announced it would cut its spending by $360 million in its first tranche of capital expenditure reductions to counter a low oil price.
The level 4 lockdown in New Zealand has drawn harsh criticism from the opposition, with National Party finance shadow minister saying the "number one priority" for the country was to get out of lockdown as soon as possible to save the economy.