The drilling of a new exploration well on the edge of the Maui field will begin next year.
The new well will be known as Ruru-2.
The Kan Tan IV will also re-drill Ruru-1, where drilling work was suspended because of wild weather during April 2011.
Last year Kiwi actress Lucy Lawless and other Greenpeace activists boarded the Noble Discoverer drillship at Port Taranaki after the vessel had plugged and abandoned Ruru-1.
Rob Jager, general manager of Shell Todd Oil Services Limited, said the Kan Tan IV would be used to undertake the work programme targeting natural gas. Ruru-2 would be a part of the company's commitment to late-life opportunities at Maui, which began producing natural gas more than 30 years ago, he said.
"We are committed to making the best use of the fields we operate, using existing infrastructure.
"Safety and protecting the environment is our top priority, along with our ongoing conversations with neighbours, hapu, iwi and regulators."
Mr Jager said the project would have a positive impact on Taranaki's economy. "We employ some 350 people and a direct contractor workforce of about the same number, tendering work to firms worth many millions of dollars each year," he said.
The rig is due to arrive in New Zealand later this year and will be utilised by oil and gas companies OMV and AWE first.
Drilling of Ruru-2 is expected to start in mid-2014.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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