Tui Project: decommissioning the Tui oil field

The NZ Government is managing the decommissioning of the Tui oil field assets in the wake of the financial problems affecting the permit operator Tamarind Taranaki Ltd.

Latest status

February 2024

The majority of the Tui Oil Field infrastructure has been removed from the seafloor.

The final stage of work is now underway and includes removing the 4 mid-water arches, and severing and removing the 2 remaining wellheads.

Sapura Energy Australia’s construction support vessel, the Sapura Constructor, is scheduled to arrive in New Zealand waters on 10 February. Sapura Energy Australia is expected to be complete this stage of work by late March. 

This is the final step in decommissioning the Tui Oil Field.

Tui Project Sapura Constructor

The Sapura Constructor

Sapura Energy Australia

The decommissioning process

The decommissioning of the Tui field is being conducted in 3 main phases, with a fourth stage to complete residual work:

  1. demobilisation of the FPSO Umuroa coupled with works to ensure that the subsea assets are left safe and secure (completed in May 2021)
  2. removal of the subsea infrastructure (concluded in July 2022)
  3. plugging and abandonment of the wells (concluded in November 2023).

Each of these phases of work has required detailed planning and environmental approvals. The final part of the project is now underway and scheduled to be completed by late-March.

Treaty partners and stakeholders

The Crown is committed to continued meaningful engagement and consultation with Te Kāhui o Taranaki (Taranaki Iwi) and other Treaty partners throughout the entire decommissioning process.

The decommissioning of the Tui Oil Field entails the removal of the subsea infrastructure and the plugging and abandonment of the wells. Te Kāhui o Taranaki (Taranaki Iwi) continue their involvement with a particular interest in the work being completed as planned in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.

Stakeholders, including the oil and gas industry, service companies, local government, non-government organisations and other interested parties are kept informed of developments and consulted where applicable.

Contracts and recruitment

At the outset of the Tui Project, MBIE did not have experience in the decommissioning of offshore petroleum assets so it needed to procure external technical advice to perform this role. To guide the work, an MBIE Project Team was created, which includes a number of staff who are very experienced in the oil and gas sector.

For information on appointments and contracts:

Legislative change

The Government amended the Crown Minerals Act 1991 in the wake of the issues affecting Tamarind Taranaki and its ability to fund the decommissioning of the Tui oil field.

The amendment, enacted in December 2021, imposes statutory obligation on all current and future petroleum permit and licence holders to decommission their wells and infrastructure.

It also enables the regulator to periodically assess permit and licence holders’ financial capability to meet their decommissioning obligations, requires permit and licence holders to maintain adequate financial security for decommissioning purposes, requires permit and licence holders to make a financial contribution towards any post-decommissioning work, expands enforcement powers and makes other minor changes.

Crown Minerals (Decommissioning and Other Matters) Amendment Bill(external link) — New Zealand Parliament website

Tamarind Taranaki Ltd (in receivership and liquidation)

Tamarind Taranaki Ltd – permit operator of the Tui oil field – was placed in receivership and liquidation in December 2019.

Its parent company, Tamarind Resources Private Limited (Singapore) went into receivership in March 2020 and into liquidation in April 2020.

The Crown is an unsecured creditor in respect of Tamarind Taranaki Ltd (TTL).

The liquidators of the Tamarind companies disclaimed the Tui assets to the Crown, but the petroleum mining permit currently remains with the liquidators.

Further information

Documents related to the Tui Project are available here:

Cabinet Paper - The Crown's Approach to Decommissioning the Tui Oil Field(external link)

Contact

For more information on the Tui decommissioning process please email:

decommissioning@mbie.govt.nz

Last updated: 09 February 2024