NZ�s only FPSO leaves Kiwi waters

NEW Zealand’s sole floating, production, storage and off-take (FPSO) vessel, the Whakaaropai, has left Taranaki waters for an Asian refurbishment after a decade of processing and pumping about 35 million barrels of Maui crude oil.
NZ’s only FPSO leaves Kiwi waters NZ’s only FPSO leaves Kiwi waters NZ’s only FPSO leaves Kiwi waters NZ’s only FPSO leaves Kiwi waters NZ’s only FPSO leaves Kiwi waters

Maui operator Shell Todd Oil Services (STOS) decommissioned the Whakaaropai – a converted Suezmax tanker capable of producing up to 44,000 bbl of oil per day – last week and today confirmed the FPSO had left the southern B lobe of the Maui field after almost 10 years of service.

The Whakaaropai – New Zealand’s first FPSO – was commissioned in 1996 after commercial oil was discovered in the Eocene-aged Kapuni F sands in the southern B lobe earlier that decade.

It was sold last year to Norwegian maritime company Bergesen Worldwide Offshore, with Bergeson responsible for having the Whakaaropai towed to an Asian shipyard for refurbishment before re-commissioning.

STOS is now due to convert the Maui B oil wells to gas wells, enabling additional gas recovery from the B lobe.

“The Whakaaropai was initially expected to have a life of four and a half years but, due to regular and effective maintenance by Shell Todd Oil Services, this was prolonged to almost 10 years,” said STOS.

Before Maui B oil started in September 1996, the field had been producing less than 7 million bbl of condensate a year. In 1997, total Maui crude and condensate output jumped to 16.6 million bbl, but by 2005 that figure had declined to less than 5 million bbl.

New Zealand’s next FPSO will be involved with the $US225 million ($A296 million) development of the offshore Taranaki Tui Area oil fields.

It is scheduled to arrive from Singapore in the March 2007 quarter, a few months after the Ocean Patriot semi-submersible rig starts drilling the four-plus Tui Area development wells. Oil production of up to 50,000 bpd is expected to start in the June 2007 quarter.