Todd ponders options for offshore NZ gas field

TODD Energy is investigating ways to commercialise its 2004 offshore Taranaki Karewa gas discovery, including the possibility of bringing gas ashore as compressed natural gas, via a coastal tanker, to feed into New Zealand’s gas reticulation network.

Company managing director Richard Tweedie said Todd was in discussions with “an international company” on delivering Karewa gas into a waiting carrier, where the gas would be compressed, shipped to shore, and then fed into the North Island high-pressure system.

Tweedie has said Todd estimated Karewa had P50 gas reserves of about 60-150 billion cubic feet (Bcf) and other prospects identified in neighbouring permits could yield a further 150-200Bcf.

Further success in the 100% Todd-controlled PEP 38602 and Todd’s new blocks PEPs 38486-487 could lead to a subsea development, complete with pipeline to shore and a tie-in to the Maui pipeline, by about 2009, Tweedie said two years ago.

But today he said while Todd was still looking at the pipeline option, the maritime carrier option was further advanced.

“We are in the FEED [front-end engineeering and design] study for the maritime option and this should be finished later this year,” he told

The Karewa project was the third project this major international offshore company was working on, according to Tweedie.

“This is not something vague,” he said.

“This company has the technology, has tested it and certified it, and is working with a maritime shipper.”

Tweedie said such a project – using subsea completions, a floating buoy system and small tanker – could lead to other New Zealand small offshore gas discoveries being developed economically.

Small tankers at Karewa could go south to Port Taranaki, where their gas would be offloaded and piped into the Maui pipeline. But it would make more sense for tankers to head north into the smaller Port of Manukau, which was near the Auckland gas pipeline network.

Todd was talking to several other companies, including electricity generators, about joining the project, and it had already shot about 600km of 2D seismic data over Karewa and neighbouring licences, according to Tweedie.

It also had 90 square kilometres of 3D seismic data shot in April and the processed and interpreted data was looking “really good”, indicating more shallow gas than previously thought, which could lead to reserve upgrades, he said.

Todd was also hoping to use the Ensco jack-up Rig 107 - which was coming to New Zealand to drill the Maari oil field development wells - to drill a Karewa appraisal well in the third quarter of 2007, Tweedie added.

The company was also preparing a petroleum mining permit application for Karewa.

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