OMV is planning to drill two exploration wells off Taranaki in the 2019-20 summer. Photo by Getty Images,

OMV is planning to drill two exploration wells off Taranaki in the 2019-20 summer.

The company, which is currently awaiting a marine consent from the Environmental Protection Authority, said it may drill an additional two wells that summer, subject to funding and the contracting of a suitable rig.

“The public can be assured that any drilling we carry out will be done in accordance with industry best practice,” Gabriel Selischi, OMV’s vice-president for Australasia, said. “We stand by our safety and environmental record. OMV New Zealand is an established operator with a long and safe track record of exploration off the Taranaki coast.”

OMV operates the Maari oil field and has stakes in the Maui and Pohokura gas fields. It also has interests in seven exploration permits off the Taranaki coast, off the Wairarapa coast and in the Great South Basin.

It is the second firm to announce offshore drilling plans for next year. Tamarind Resources has booked the modern Hai Yang Shi You 982 semi-submersible rig for a development drilling programme at its Tui oil field from early next year.

OMV didn’t detail the wells it plans to drill in the coming campaign. The consent it is seeking from the EPA is for up to nine exploration wells and three appraisal wells across six permits – including Maari – any time out to 2025.

The earliest commitment OMV faces is at its Matuku permit – PEP 51906 – where the firm has indicated it plans a well roughly half way between its Maari field and the western part of the Maui field to the north. The terms of the permit, in which Malaysia’s Sapura Energy is also a partner, require a well be drilled next year, with a second contingent well due in 2021.

A well is also due in OMV’s Te Whatu permit, which lies south-west of Maari, by 2020. The firm also needs to drill a well in one of its more northerly permits – Cloudy Bay – that year.

Selischi said OMV will try and work with other operators to share the cost of any rig it uses. 

Final approvals for the programme are not likely from the board of Vienna-based OMV until next year, he said.

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