Specialized Vessel Arrives in Port Taranaki for Tui Offshore Oil Field Decommissioning

©Port Taranaki
©Port Taranaki

The third stage of work to decommission the Tui oil field will begin this week when a specialist well intervention vessel arrives at Port Taranaki, the port said Monday.

Helix Energy Solutions’ Q7000 semi-submersible vessel that specializes in decommissioning projects, is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday and will be in port for approximately a week to carry out a crew exchange and to load supplies for the campaign.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) in 2021 awarded Helix a contract for well abandonment, recovery of XTs, and wellhead severance and recovery, at the Tui field.

Upon final preparations in the Port Taranaki, Q7000 will head to the Tui field and begin work on phase three of the decommissioning – to plug and abandon the field wells – which is expected to take about three months to complete.

Port Taranaki head of commercial Ross Dingle said the port was pleased to be of support, having also provided berthing services and laydown facilities for the first two stages of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment-led project.

“The well abandonment is the most important part of the project, so we’re very pleased to assist,” Dingle said. “It’s important to be clear that this vessel is here to decommission the field, not drill new wells.”

He said the Q7000, which is in transit from Perth, would come to port under its own steam and Port Taranaki would then provide pilotage and tug support to bring the vessel to the berth.

“Dozens of workers and project staff will be joining the vessel in New Plymouth, so it works well for the vessel to come into port for the crew transfer and to load supplies before heading to the site,” Mr Dingle said.

Port Taranaki is working with New Plymouth-headquartered energy consultancy and developer Elemental Group, which is providing project management assistance of New Zealand operations for Helix Energy Solutions.

Elemental Group director Nick Jackson said that along with providing logistics support and assisting with health and safety and environmental compliance, the company was also assisting with procurement, and managing the New Zealand companies needed for the project work.

“All up, there will be a team of more than 100 on the Q7000, over half being Kiwis and Aussies in operations roles working alongside the Helix crew, as well as several specialist roles, such as wireline and cementing,” Mr Jackson said.

“We’re excited to be a part of the project. I worked on some of the original Tui exploration wells, so it’s nice to be involved in restoring the mauri of the area.”

MBIE is responsible for the decommissioning of the Tui Oil Field after the liquidation and receivership of Tamarind Taranaki Ltd.

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