Pipelaying vessel arrives for Kupe

THE specialist reel barge Apache has arrived in Wellington, New Zealand, to lay the products pipeline and umbilical for the $NZ1080 million ($A948 million) Kupe gas-condensate development.
Pipelaying vessel arrives for Kupe Pipelaying vessel arrives for Kupe Pipelaying vessel arrives for Kupe Pipelaying vessel arrives for Kupe Pipelaying vessel arrives for Kupe

New Zealand Oil & Gas today said the arrival in Wellington harbour of the Apache, operated by alliance partner Technip, marked the next phase of the Kupe project.

NZOG said the Apache, one of the most advanced pipelaying vessels in the world, was of a type not seen in New Zealand before. The reel barge can lay pipe more easily and quickly, with much less risk of weather downtime, than ordinary barges.

The Aberdeen-based vessel, complete with the Kupe umbilical aboard that it picked up from Corpus Christi in the United States, is due to leave Wellington for Taranaki waters this weekend.

The vessel’s first task will be to lay the umbilical from near the south Taranaki coast almost 30km out to the Kupe platform. It will then head to Picton, near the top of the South Island, where it will load the already welded sections of the products pipeline, transport them north, and lay them in the same trench as the umbilical.

And Port Taranaki is gearing up for another busy year as specialist ships continue visiting the New Zealand energy port as work on the offshore Taranaki Kupe gas-condensate and Maari crude oil projects increases.

The Rockwater 2 dive support vessel is back in the New Plymouth port after carrying out routine pipeline, structural maintenance and inspection activities over the Maui gas field for operator Shell Todd Oil Services during the past few weeks.

It is now waiting for the scheduled arrival next Monday of the Faaborg that will unload some specialist trenching equipment for the Kupe development, which will be the third New Zealand project for the “Rocky 2” after the Pohokura gas-condensate and Tui crude oil developments.

The vessel is scheduled to create the seabed trenches, by using high-pressure jets of water, for most of the 30km route out from the south Taranaki coast to the Kupe platform.

The jack-up Ensco Rig 107 is batch drilling the three Kupe development wells and has reached depths of over 2000m for the Kupe South-6 well, 1850m for Kupe South-7, and 560m for Kupe South-8.

Another heavy lift vessel, the Pangani, is due to arrive at the New Plymouth port later this month with the LPG bullets for the onshore Kupe production station that is being constructed south of Hawera.

In addition, one of the first of many specialist vessels for the $US457 million ($A516 million) Maari project, the Lena is scheduled to arrive at the port later this month or early next with the reeled flow lines aboard for linking the subsea wellheads with the floating production storage and offtake vessel Raroa.

The UK Sealion-operated Toisa Proteus is then scheduled to arrive in the next month or so to carry out similar dive support operations to the “Rocky 2” when it last year helped with the flow lines and umbilicals for the Tui oil project.

The Kupe partners are operator Origin (50%), Genesis Energy (31%), New Zealand Oil & Gas (15%), and Mitsui E&P NZ (4%).

The Maari partners are operator OMV (69%), Todd Energy (16%), Horizon Oil (10%) and Cue Energy Resources (5%).