By Gavin Evans
Sept. 13 (BusinessDesk) - Tamarind Resources has halted drilling at its Tui oil field off the Taranaki coast after the first of the three planned wells came up dry.
Managing director Ian Angell says that despite the “unexpected” result from the first well, the firm believes the other two prospects are worth pursuing.
But the company will not continue the programme “at this time” and is preparing to demobilise the rig – the COSL Prospector.
“Tamarind has been unable to agree terms with the rig provider with respect to the second and third wells and as a result has suspended rig operations,” Angell said in an emailed statement.
“Tamarind will continue to produce from the existing wells at the Tui field once the rig has moved off location, which will be completed shortly.”
The suspended programme is a setback for Kuala Lumpur-headquartered Tamarind, an expert in late-life assets which bought out the former venture partners in 2017.
Low oil prices at the time meant the field, once New Zealand’s biggest oil producer, could have faced decommissioning from the end of 2019. It produced about 693,000 barrels last year, according to government data.
Tamarind had expected to spend about 135 days drilling three side-track wells at Tui - Tui-3H, Amokura-2H and then Pateke-4H. The rig arrived mid-June but the programme suffered from severe storms in July and August, which contributed to almost a month of delay.
Angell said a detailed third-party technical review had confirmed Tamarind’s belief that the two remaining prospects are “robust, commercially viable and worth pursuing.”
The Prospector, a four-year-old semi-submersible rig designed to operate in harsh North Sea environments, was next booked to drill for OMV in Taranaki and potentially in the Great South Basin.
It is not clear how the early suspension of work at Tui will affect OMV’s programme.
It is planning three wells in Taranaki – including an in-fill well at the Maui gas field it is trying to extend the life of.
It is also awaiting consent for one well – Tawhaki-1 – which it had been planning to drill early next year about 146 kilometres south-east of Balclutha.