OMV says its in-fill drilling campaign at Māui A off the coast of Taranaki has almost doubled 2021 production levels, making it the country's largest gas field once more.
The Austrian-based company says production is back at levels not seen since 2018 when it bought Māui from Shell New Zealand for $US578 million.
The Archer Emerald - modular offshore drilling rig which has been directly attached to Māui A platform - has just wrapped up an eight well drilling programme.
A spokesperson said it had been using non-producing existing wells as starting points for the new wells.
"The target of the campaign has been previously un-drilled areas of gas within the existing Māui field," they said.
"Seven of those wells were now in production, contributing significantly to the overall production of the field."
The spokesperson said good progress was being made with the eighth well and the development campaign had extended the life of the Māui field until 2030.
"Without investments the field would have been in abandonment by now - the current outlook is until the end of the decade depending on further investments going forward.
"This will extend the life of the Māui gas field and provide additional natural gas to Aotearoa, thereby enabling the transition to a renewable energy future."
OMV is now turning its attention to a similar in-fill drilling campaign at Māui B utilising the Valaris 249 rig, which will be jacked-up beside the platform.
"OMV has committed to a five-well programme with first production expected later this year," the spokesperson said. "The campaign is expected to last around one year and provide about 200 jobs, the majority filled by local staff and contractors," the spokesperson said.
According to the most up-to-date fact sheet on OMV's website, the company produces 35,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, comprised of 70 percent gas and 30 percent condensate and oil.
It owns a 74 percent share of the Pohokura gas field in the Taranaki Basin, according to the March 2021 factsheet, which meets about 40 percent of New Zealand's gas demand.
OMV owns 100 percent of Māui which was New Zealand's largest gas field until 2008.
Discovered in 1969, Māui went into production a decade later and, according to the factsheet, meets about 20 percent of New Zealand's gas needs.
In 2019, OMV agreed to sell its 69 percent share in the Maari oil field to Jadestone Energy for $50 million as part of a strategy to become a gas producer only.
But the deal is yet to be approved by regulators after being delayed by the passage of the Crown Minerals (Amendment) Act.
The Act is designed to prevent situations similar to Tamarind Taranaki - the operator of the Tui Oil Field - which collapsed leaving the taxpayer with a $300m bill to decommission the site.
Under the new legislation, OMV would remain liable for the decommissioning of Maari in perpetuity should Jadestone not fulfil its obligation to make the site safe at the end of its life.