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

(As at 4 April)

Work has commenced on the second phase of the decommissioning of the Tui Oil Fied – the removal of the subsea infrastructure.

Specialist deep-sea divers are preparing infrastructure on the sea floor ahead of its retrieval by a diving support vessel for transport to shore.

The contract for the removal of the subsea infrastructure was awarded to Shelf Subsea last year and the operation commenced at the end of March following a blessing of diving support vessel Southern Star by Te Kāhui o Taranaki Trust.

The second phase involves the recovery of 39km of flexible flowlines and umbilicals and the retrieval of subsea manifolds and mid-water arches.  It is anticipated that phase two will be completed this year and the final phase – the plugging and abandonment of the wells – will be carried out next summer.

Contract signed for next phase of Tui Oil Field decommissioning

The Southern Star at the Port of Taranaki. 6 people in helmets and orange safety gear stand in the foreground while a hyperbaric reception facility being offloaded via crane in the background.

A hyperbaric reception facility is offloaded from the Southern Star at the Port of Taranaki.

Photo credit: Port of Taranaki

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, removal of the subsea infrastructure and plugging and abandonment of the wells.

The demobilisation phase of decommissioning is now complete.

The subsequent phases of work require detailed planning and environmental approvals. It is anticipated the decommissioning phase will take several years.

The total cost of the decommissioning work will depend on a number of factors.

Cabinet initially appropriated $155 million to fund the Tui decommissioning and a further $196 million was appropriated in the May 2021 Budget.

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 oilfield will entail the removal of the subsea infrastructure, with the challenges arising from details of how this is best achieved. In the short-term, efforts are also underway to enable the FPSO Umuroa to demobilise and depart New Zealand. Te Kāhui o Taranaki (Taranaki Iwi) are aware of the complexities of the demobilisation and decommissioning and are actively contributing 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 introduced legislation to amend 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.

It will impose a 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.

The Bill is currently before the House.

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)


For more information on the Tui decommissioning process please email

Last updated: 04 April 2022