By Neil Ritchie

WHILE onshore exploration and development drilling continues to slow in Taranaki, offshore petroleum production is pumping because two new wells in different oilfields are now onstream, boosting earnings for the respective partners.

Maari-Manaia operator OMV and its partners – Todd Energy and Aussie listed juniors Cue Energy Resources and Horizon Oil – are now reaping the financial benefits of having the MR6A development well flow about 7,800 barrels of oil per day (bopd), adding substantially to the field’s former production of about 14,000 bopd.

MR6A – a horizontal well producing from the previously untapped Mangahewa formation – encountered about 1,300 metres of hydrocarbons in a high net-to-gross, good quality reservoir section. However, optimal rates for long-term production will be determined after several weeks of testing.

Initial analysis suggests the well could exceed pre-drill expectations and materially contribute to field production. This well is the second success for the US$250 million Maari Growth project following the successful MR8A well that initially flowed about 4,500 bopd late last year.

“It’s quite exciting right now, Maari is doing great,” one industry commentator told Oil & Gas Australia.

Tui field operator Australia’s AWE and its partners – New Zealand Oil & Gas and Aussie listed junior Pan Pacific Petroleum – are hoping higher-than-expected first flows, of both oil and formation water, from the Pateke-4H well will continue and not decline as rapidly as predicted.

Another industry commentator told Oil & Gas Australia that this well’s initial unstabilised flows, of 34,000 bopd with a 48 per cent water cut, were greater than field modelling predicted, of only about 22,000 bopd of oil.

This new production is already adding substantially to the Tui area oilfields’ previous total output of about 3000 bopd.

“So they are getting a lot more oil but also a lot more water, maybe the reservoir sands are richer, thicker than expected.

“Hopefully this strong water drive will continue so more oil can be extracted and the project’s current positive NPV (net present value) maintained or even increased,” he said, referring to the final cost of drilling the sidetracked well exceeding US$100 million.