Taranaki's second largest oilfield resumes production after crack found in well-head in late 2016

A 1.4 metre crack was found roughly four metres below the waterline in one of OMV's well'head platforms.
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A 1.4 metre crack was found roughly four metres below the waterline in one of OMV's well'head platforms.

The Maari oilfield is set to resume production this week after a crack was discovered in one of its platforms late last year.

Located roughly 80 kilometres off the coast of Taranaki, Maari - established in 2009 - is New Zealand's second largest crude oil field - behind Maui - and is owned primarily by OMV New Zealand. 

During a scheduled underwater inspection a 1.4 metre crack was found in one of the well-head platform's 12 horizontal struts roughly four metres below the waterline, causing OMV to shut down all operations at the site and take 30 staff off the platform in late November. 

According to initial reports by OMV the crack was caused by fatigue from wind and wave action, and it was not possible to tell whether it was exacerbated by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which rocked the country just after midnight on November 14. 

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OMV predicted it would re-open the field in early 2017 and is sticking true to its word with operations to progressively resume this week. 

A temporary fix was put in place in December - in the form of three clamps around the crack - but the platform remained closed for another month so other scheduled maintenance could be completed. 

A spokesperson for OMV said two options were being explored for a permanent solution and would hopefully be finalised by the end of the month and installed mid-way through the year. 

Maari was scheduled to shutdown on December 5 for scheduled maintenance regardless of the discovery of the crack.

While OMV wouldn't disclose their oil-production numbers OMV's senior vice-president for Australasia Gabriel Selischi said that "production as a result of the shut-down is considered deferred production as the petroleum will be extracted at a later date".

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Selischi also said this was the first time OMV has experienced this kind of damage on any of the company's well-head platforms in New Zealand. 

The 30 staff working offshore at the platform were being paid during the shutdown and were supporting OMV's onshore efforts during that six-week period. 

 - Stuff

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