A contract has been awarded for final phase of the decommissioning of the Tui Oil Field off the coast of Taranaki.
The Tui field was abandoned in 2019 following the collapse of Tamarind Taranaki, leaving the Crown with a bill of about $300 million to safely decommission the site.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, on behalf of the Crown, has taken on responsibility for decommissioning Tui and a dedicated project team within its Energy and Resource Markets branch, is planning operation.
MBIE has contracted Helix Offshore Services to undertake phase 3 of the decommissioning - the plugging and abandonment of the wells.
The company is a subsidiary of New York Stock Exchange-listed Helix Energy Solutions Group, which is headquartered in Houston, Texas with regional offices in the United Kingdom, Brazil, Singapore and Perth.
It will use a specialised vessel - the Q7000 optimised for the well decommissioning and features specialised equipment required to complete the work safely and efficiently
MBIE Tui Project director Lloyd Williams said Helix was awarded the contract after a competitive procurement process to select a supplier that met the objectives of a robust technical solution, flexibility in timing and a commitment to working with iwi and local stakeholders.
"Helix is widely recognised internationally as one of the largest and most capable contractors for well intervention and abandonment, and we are looking forward to working with them to complete the final phase of the decommissioning."
MBIE and Te Kāhui o Taranaki Trust have formed a partnership for the Tui Project to ensure iwi interests and concerns are recognised and accounted for.
Te Kāhui o Taranaki Trust chief executive Wharehoka Wano said it was please a highly competent contractor had been secured for phase the of the decommissioning.
"This gives us every confidence as Taranaki Iwi and the hapū of Ngāti Kahumate, Ngāti Tara, Ngāti Haupoto and Ngāti Tuhekerangi as kaitiaki, to fulfil and maintain our responsibility and obligation of ensuring the mouri of our environment and cultural resources are protected and enhanced for future generations."
MBIE has submitted an application for marine consents with the Environmental Protection Authority for the removal of the subsea infrastructure and the plugging and abandoning of the Tui wells.
An Independent Board of Inquiry is considering MBIE's application.
Subject to marine consents being granted, it is anticipated the plugging and abandonment work will be carried out from late 2022.
The first phase of the decommissioning of the Tui Oil Field, the disconnection and demobilisation of the floating production station FPSO Umuroa, was completed in May.
In October the contract for the second phase, the removal of the subsea infrastructure, was awarded to Perth-based Shelf Subsea Services. It is anticipated this work will be carried out in this summer of 2021/22 or alternatively in the summer of 2022/23.