Platform damage halts Maari oil production offshore New Zealand

Production from the Maari oil production platform offshore Taranaki basin in New Zealand has been halted after a 1.4-m crack was found in one of the 12 horizontal struts.

The damaged was discovered during a scheduled underwater check.

Field operator OMV New Zealand said there has been no risk to personnel or the environment, but the company has shut down the platform, which lies 80 km off the southern Taranaki coast. Evacuation of 34 people is taking place via helicopter. They will remain onshore while repairs are carried out.

OMV says bad weather is approaching and this, coupled with New Zealand’s heightened earthquake risk after last week’s 7.8-Richter scale quake and aftershocks caused extensive damage between Christchurch and Wellington, necessitated the precautionary approach.

The company says the crack in the platform strut has been caused by fatigue on level 3 where wave and wind pressure is greatest, but it is not possible to say whether the damage was exacerbated by the earthquake.

Work has already begun to stabilize the crack, but there is no indication how long the platform will be off-line.

Maari steel platform has four legs consolidated by 20 vertical cross-members and 12 horizontal struts.

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