Oil company to buy supertanker

ROB MAETZIG
Last updated 08:40 15/11/2012
tanker stand
The floating storage ship Raroa, which is being bought by OMV.

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OMV New Zealand is about to buy a converted supertanker capable of storing 600,000 barrels of crude oil off the Taranaki coast.

The company, which is operator and 69 per cent owner of the Maari oilfield southwest of Opunake, is soon to buy the Raroa, the ship that stores the oil the field produces.

Raroa is what is known as a floating processing, storage and offloading ship - a FPSO - and it has been sitting above the Maari field since 2009.

A converted oil tanker that was modified at the Jurong shipyard in Singapore, its main job is to separate raw production from Maari's wells into oil, gas and water and then store the oil for offloading to visiting conventional tankers that park themselves nearby.

It can store 600,000 tonnes of crude, and has a daily production capacity of up to 40,000 barrels a day.

OMV said yesterday that the Maari joint venture has decided to exercise an option to buy the Raroa, which is leased at present. This lease arrangement includes an option to purchase the FPSO after the fourth contract year at an agreed buy-out price.

The transfer of ownership will be effective from March 8. The cost of the purchase has not been made public.

"We see the purchase of the Raroa as an integral part of our investment strategy for the Maari field," OMV New Zealand managing director Peter Zeilinger said yesterday.

"We plan to tie in new reservoirs through the drilling of additional wells.

"Ownership of the Raroa will give us both flexibility and control, which is particularly important in terms of upgrades and refurbishment that may be required to meet anticipated field life and production."

A contract to provide operations and maintenance services for the Maari field has also been awarded to Modec Management Services. The company currently operates 15 FPSOs worldwide, including three off Western Australia.

It is considered one of the world's leading providers of operations and maintenance services for floating production units.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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