Tui Project: decommissioning the Tui oil field

The NZ Government has commenced work to manage the Tui oil field assets and plan for decommissioning of its wells in the wake of the financial problems affecting the permit operator Tamarind Taranaki Ltd.

Latest status

August 2022

Phase 2 was a 3-month offshore campaign to recover all the flexible flowlines, risers and the majority of the subsea production equipment.

After months of planning and seeking environmental approvals, the campaign began in April with specialist deep-sea divers installing the rigging for recovery of all the infrastructure. Shelf Subsea was contracted to remove the subsea equipment and deployed the 112m diving support vessel the Southern Star.

In total, about 2,800 tonnes of subsea equipment, including 38km of flexibles, were disconnected and removed from the seafloor within the Tui Field and offloaded at Port Taranaki.

Hayes Metals has been awarded the contract for recycling and disposal of the Tui Oil Field subsea infrastructure (flexibles and structures). Early indications are that 90% of the subsea infrastructure will be recycled or reused. Phase 3 involves the plugging and abandonment of the five production wells and is scheduled for early 2023.

Helix Offshore Services has been contracted to undertake the work and will deploy its state-of-the-art Q7000 heavy well intervention vessel for the task. Engineering and procurement for Phase 3 is underway.

Photo of recovered flowlines on the deck of the Southern Star.

Recovered flowlines being loaded onboard the diving support vessel, the Southern Star

The decommissioning process

The decommissioning of the Tui field is being conducted in 3 phases; the demobilisation of the FPSO Umuroa coupled with works to ensure that the subsea assets are left safe and secure (completed in May 2021), removal of the subsea infrastructure (completed July 2022) and plugging and abandonment of the wells.

Each of these phases of work has required detailed planning and environmental approvals. The final phase is scheduled to be carried out next summer.

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 ultimate decommissioning of the Tui Oil Field entails the removal of the subsea infrastructure, with the challenges arising from details of how this is best achieved. Te Kāhui o Taranaki (Taranaki Iwi) continue their involvement  to ensure the infrastructure is safely removed and in a timely manner.

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

Contracts and recruitment

MBIE does not have staff who are specialists in the decommissioning of offshore petroleum assets so it needs to procure external technical advice to perform this role.

MBIE has had approval for a small number of fixed-term roles. These will be advertised openly and also listed on the MBIE careers website. Additional advertisements may be utilised and the jobs will be referenced in the ‘Contracts’ section below.

For information on recently filled positions or awarded and upcoming contracts:

Legislative change

The Government has 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 have 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: 02 September 2022