Shell Todd plans comprehensive review of Maui field

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, Jan. 12 -- Shell Todd Oil Services Ltd. plans a major review of the Maui gas field region in the Taranaki basin off New Zealand.

The JV contracted drillship Noble Discoverer to drill an exploration well, Ruru-1, on the edge of the field in February to March. It also engaged Electromagnetic Geoservices ASA of Norway to conduct an electromagnetic survey (New Zealand’s first) across the Maui field itself.

The Ruru prospect, previously known as Hohonu, was delineated in recent years and is believed to have potential to add large reserves—1 tcf was mentioned unofficially—to the Maui development. Depending on the result of the wildcat well, it may be developed as a separate project or as an adjunct to the existing Maui system.

Ruru is a fault trap prospect on the southeast boundary of the Maui production lease and crosses into adjoining permit PEP 381203, also operated by Shell Todd and in which Australian company OMV has an interest. The Eocene-age Kapuni formation reservoir target is the same as the producing horizon at Maui.

The multimillion dollar electromagnetic survey is being run by the Boa Galatea vessel and is expected to take a month to complete. It will begin with laying a grid of receivers on the seabed across production lease PEP 381012 before transmitting electromagnetic waves during the survey.

Mau field, discovered in 1969, had initial gas reserves of 3 tcf and once supplied 90% of New Zealand’s demand that exceeded 200 petajoules/year. The field now supplies only about 30% of the current annual market of 150-170 petajoules.

However the new exploration initiative indicates Shell Todd thinks more reserves can be found to prolong the field’s life and lead to renewing the production lease before it expires in June 2015.

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