The Fugro-owned STM Markab arrived at Port Taranaki, New Plymouth, last Thursday from Portland, Victoria, after completing some foundation engineering work for Woodside and its partners for two planned platform locations (Thylacine and Geographe) in the Otway Basin.
The Rotterdam-based vessel, which has also worked in the Caspian Sea during the past year, has now started a geotechnical investigation off the north Taranaki coast for Pohokura operator Shell Todd Oil Services.
Fugro project manager Hans Hanse told EnergyReview.Net before he returned to his Perth base that the Taranaki geotechnical work would take about two weeks to complete and involve drilling 100m-deep test holes about 6km and 12km off the Motunui coast for two proposed platforms.
The 1565-tonne Markab and its 37-strong crew - 17 marine and 20 project personnel - would also drill test holes along the proposed Pohokura pipeline route. The drilling would test the mechanical parameters of the seabed, as well as enable seabed samples to be taken and vane tests to be carried out.
Hanse declined to comment on rumours that Fugro might secure a second contract for the Markab while it is in Taranaki waters - doing similar work for operator OMV Petroleum and its Maari partners in licence PEP 38413.
"I do not know the answer to that one," OMV NZ commercial and legal director David Salisbury told EnergyReview.Net from Wellington today, when asked if the Markab was to do some Maari work, and referred ERN to OMV operations in Perth.
Last month the Seaworks specialist catamaran MV Seawatch conducted a short geotechnical survey operator to help determine the exact pipeline route from the planned nearshore mini-platform to the north Taranaki coast. The specialist 23m motorised catamaran drilled five test holes between 500m and 3km from shore.