Offshore Marine Services sets up NZ office

LEADING marine and personnel provider, Offshore Marine Services, is setting up shop in New Plymouth, buoyed by the developments on the New Zealand energy horizon.
Offshore Marine Services sets up NZ office Offshore Marine Services sets up NZ office Offshore Marine Services sets up NZ office Offshore Marine Services sets up NZ office Offshore Marine Services sets up NZ office

“We are very enthusiastic about having operations over here - we are well prepared to put our money in for what we see could be a very busy and exciting 10 years at least,” OMS Group managing director Sandy Macklin told

There could be four offshore drilling rigs operating in New Zealand by the end of 2006 – more than ever seen in Taranaki waters – and several production platforms or FPSOs (floating production, storage and offloading vessels) operating for perhaps a decade or longer.

Macklin said it was this planned activity, plus ongoing offshore exploration programs, that convinced OMS it was time to establish a New Zealand presence.

“We have already made a million-dollar-plus commitment to New Zealand and we are very excited about it all,” Macklin said, referring to the NZ$1.5 million OMS office planned to be constructed in central New Plymouth later this year.

OMS had also entered into a joint venture agreement with New Plymouth-based Phoenix Shipping Agencies Ltd, and Phoenix owners Bill Preston and John Spurway are now directors of OMS’ New Zealand operations.

“This process allows us to hit the ground running in New Zealand as there are clearly significant benefits in merging with an existing organisation.

"We are delighted to have John and Bill as part of our team and perceive that their local knowledge will play a critical part in the development of our local NZ operation.

"We are already talking to a number of our clients who have up-coming operations in New Zealand and there appears to be a real enthusiasm and support for our latest initiative."

Macklin said the Ensco 56 jack-up rig was due off Taranaki late this year to begin an 18-month drilling program for the more northern offshore development wells for the possible NZ$1 billion Pohokura project and perhaps other exploratory wells.

The OD & E Rig 41 has already started the more southern deviated onshore-offshore wells for Pohokura partners Shell NZ, Todd Energy and OMV.

Macklin also said a modular drilling package, probably from Nabors Industries, was due out late 2005/early 2006 for some wells to be drilled from the Maui A platform.

Earlier this month Shell NZ said the Maui partners – Shell, Todd and OMV – had agreed with the New Zealand government that more gas could be extracted from the Kapuni D sands and Ihi prospect at Maui A.

In addition, the semi-submersible Ocean Patriot rig was due back in 2006 for drilling several Tui Area development and exploration wells in PEP 38460, while late next year another jack-up was scheduled to arrive for the Kupe development off south Taranaki.

Although final investment decisions had yet to be made, it looked likely that two FPSOs would also be arriving in New Zealand waters in the next year or two – for the Tui Area development and more southern Maari oil field.

Macklin said if all these went ahead that would be a huge amount of development and exploration activity for the small New Zealand energy industry and, if OMS was successful in tendering for the associated support services, it could then employ up to 200 staff.

OMS also had its own purpose-built support vessel that could double as an accommodation unit for offshore workers available. OMS had already approached two Australian FPSO operators regarding them using such a vessel, which could also be used alongside New Zealand FPSOs.

Current OMS operations in Australia included an OMS/Brunel pipelaying joint venture for operator Woodside and its partners in the Bass Strait; a support contract for pipelaying for operator Santos and its Casino partners, also in the Bass Strait; and a Keppelfels/JCE accommodation vessel for operator Origin and its BassGas Yolla partners.

OMS was established about 30 years ago and now employs about 1500 people in its Aberdeen, Malta, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Perth offices.