Port Taranaki is preparing to play a key role in support of the Tui oil field decommissioning.
Throughout the three-phase project, which may extend to the summer of 2022-23, Port Taranaki is expected to provide berthing facilities for the offshore support vessels that are involved in the work, and will also be a laydown and storage area for infrastructure removed from the field.
“It’s a large and unusual project for New Zealand and, as a port that has experience supporting the oil and gas industry and being the closest port to the field, we anticipate playing a significant role throughout,” Port Taranaki head of commercial Ross Dingle says.
The first phase is expected to get under way soon, and involves the disconnection and demobilisation of the floating production, storage and offloading vessel Umuroa from the Tui field.
“Part of this will be the retrieval of about 15km of anchor chains and approximately nine anchors, which are expected to be delivered to Port Taranaki, lifted by our mobile harbour cranes and stored onsite before they are cleaned and removed,” Ross says.
Phases two and three will follow, which involve the decommissioning of the subsea assets, such as flow lines, umbilicals, and steel mid-water arches – infrastructure that will be brought to Port Taranaki – and then the plugging and abandoning of five production wells and three exploration wells.
“With New Zealand’s move towards a low-carbon future, in the longer term there will be more of this work occurring as oil fields are decommissioned and plugged. This project provides local industry a real opportunity to gain experience and set itself up to capture this work in the future,” Ross says.