Phase 3 of Tui Project oil field decommissioning begins

Published: 15 May 2023

A specialist Heavy Well Intervention vessel will arrive in New Plymouth this week, marking the start of Phase 3 of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Tui Project, set up in 2020 to decommission the Tui Oil Field.

Helix Energy Solutions’ Q7000 vessel will plug and abandon the wells across the Tui Field, work which is expected to take around three months to complete. The Q7000 will not be carrying out any new oil field activity during its time in New Zealand.

Helix Energy Services is one of the world’s premier providers of well intervention and abandonment services and the Q7000 is the most modern vessel in its fleet.

MBIE’s Tui Project Director Lloyd Williams welcomes its arrival.

“This phase of the project has been in planning for over 2 years, so it’s great to see the Q7000 arrive in New Zealand waters, ready to undertake this important work,” Mr Williams said.

“The well plugging and abandonment is the most substantive part of the Tui decommissioning project. It involves re-entering wells on the seafloor and then positioning cement plugs about 3,000 metres below the surface. In addition, we will remove any equipment on the wells from the seafloor.”

The project is providing opportunities for Kiwi specialists and local suppliers.

“Over 50% of the offshore crew of around 100 will be New Zealanders or Australians, and more than 20 local businesses are contracted to support the project,” Mr Williams said.

MBIE has partnered with Te Kāhui o Taranaki (Taranaki Iwi) for the duration of the Tui decommissioning.

The Trust’s Tumuwhakarito (chief executive) Wharehoka Wano says: “We welcome the Helix Q7000 to Taranaki as it marks the next important step of this Project. It’s vitally important Taranaki Iwi and the hapū of Ngāti Kahumate, Ngāti Tara, Ngāti Haupoto and Ngāti Tuhekerangi continue to work closely with MBIE on this project. As kaitiaki, we ensure our taiao and important cultural resources are protected and enhanced for the next generations.”

Following Phase 3, the Tui Project will focus on removing the 4 mid-water arches, which is a residual task from Phase 2. On 3 May 2023 MBIE signed an agreement with Sapura Projects Pty Ltd, an Australian-based supplier of subsea services, for this work to be carried out in the coming summer period. Removing the mid-water arches will be the final step in the Tui Decommissioning Project.

More information on the Tui Project

MBIE media contact