10 Nov 2022

OMV signals exit from fossil fuel energy production

1:45 pm on 10 November 2022
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Maari oil field and Raroa floating production station. Photo: Supplied

New Zealand's largest oil and gas operator, OMV, says it will reduce fossil fuel production by 20 percent by 2030 and completely cease production for energy use by 2050 as part of its new global strategy.

Austrian-based OMV and Jadestone Energy recently terminated a deal for Singapore-headquartered Jadestone to acquire 69 percent of the Maari field off the coast of Taranaki.

The $50 million transfer of the asset was agreed in 2019, but has been caught up in regulatory changes designed to make sure companies can manage oil and gas wells through to decommissioning.

OMV acknowledged the decision was a mutual one, but initial would not comment further about its implications for Maari and its other New Zealand assets - including Māui and Pohokura.

Now a spokesperson has clarified what that future might look like.

"As part of our new global strategy, OMV is focused on low carbon business opportunities and will gradually decrease its oil and gas production by 20 percent by 2030 and will completely cease oil and gas production for energy use by 2050."

The spokesperson said it would continue to manage Maari.

"OMV are committed to continuing to operate the Maari field safely until the eventual decommissioning of the asset ... and will be assessing what the long term future of the asset looks like."

Despite the global positioning, the picture looked more rosy for Pohokura and Māui.

"OMV continues to operate the Māui and Pohokura gas fields and is significantly investing in re-developing these fields," the spokesperson said.

The company announced its new global strategy in March, describing it as the "most fundamental strategic shift in the company's history".

In a statement on its website, OMV chief executive and chair Alfred Stern spelt out his vision for the business.

"If we want to maintain and expand living standards around the world while ensuring the survival of our society, we must move to a more sustainable way of doing business."

To do this OMV would transform itself into a sustainable fuels, chemicals, and materials company with a strong focus on circular economy solutions, the statement said.

Maari is New Zealand's largest oil field and lies 80 kilometres off the coast of Taranaki. It began production in 2009 and was expected to have a life of 10 to 15 years.

According to the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment there are still 3.7 million barrels of oil recoverable from Maari which had already produced 44 million barrels.

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