Crack forces shutdown of Maari wellhead platform

Offshore staff

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - OMV New Zealand has suspended oil production from the Maari wellhead platform (WHP) offshore New Zealand as a precautionary measure while it reviews a crack identified in one of the facility’s horizontal struts.

“The crack is about 1.4 m [4.6 ft] long, on the third level down, and 4 m [13 ft] below the waterline. It…came to light as a result of scheduled underwater checks of the platform which began on November 1,” said Gabriel Selischi, OMV’s SVP for Australasia.

“We have taken expert external advice which confirms there is no risk to people or the environment. There are 12 horizontal struts and the six levels of the structure are supported by four structural legs, consolidated by 20 vertical cross-members. So the platform is very flexible, and has a high level of built-in redundancy.

“Level 3 of this platform is the most exposed to the pressures generated by wind and wave action, so that’s why as operator we undertake regular checks.”

OMV was also mindful of bad weather and New Zealand’s heightened earthquake risk.

All 34 staff on the WHP should have departed the facility. All wells have been shut-in.

“Work has started on stabilizing the crack and we are actively monitoring it,” Selischi added. “We’ve engaged specialist advisors to assist in this work, and have been keeping both WorkSafe and Maritime New Zealand fully informed.

“Production was due to be shut in on Dec. 5 in any event to allow for the completion of a water injection flowline installation, so support vessels and equipment will shortly be on hand.”

The Maari field is 80 km (49.7 mi) off the Taranaki coast in water depths of around 100 m (328 ft). OMV operates in partnership with Todd Maari, Horizon Oil International, and Cue Taranaki.


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