Skip to main content

NZ Petroleum Conference - highlights - Part 2

By Neil Ritchie

As well as the sole political address, there were several keynote speakers and updates on recent exploration and production activities, largely centred on Taranaki, at the 2017 Petroleum Conference.

International keynote speaker, Iain Stewart, the director of the Sustainable Earth Institute at Plymouth University, England, was one of the highlights of the conference, according to several delegates

“He was brilliant, very professional” said one delegate, while another described him as “very good at describing the importance of communicating scientific matters to a non-scientific audience”.

Geoscientist Stewart, presenter of the BBC’s ‘Planet Oil’ television series, said many members of the public were wanting to understand how science improved people’s understanding of a vast range of issues, including oil and natural gas. But they did not want extremism, either left or right political views – they wanted to be informed from a neutral point of view.

View Planet Oil here

Fellow international keynote speaker, Amit Bhandari, energy and environmental studies fellow with the Indian Council of Global Relations, said about 600 million Indians still had no access to modern fuels.

But India was now the world’s third largest energy consumer, after the USA and China, and imported large quantities of coal, oil and gas, with natural gas imports predicted to grow the fastest in the future.

And government enterprise ONGC Videsh – which entered the New Zealand petroleum sector recently – was working globally to secure the energy future of India.

“Something has to come up in New Zealand . . . and we would be interested in any large discoveries,” he added, referring to possible future Kiwi oil and/or natural gas finds and subsequent exports.

Other speakers spoke about exploration and production updates, including the presently non-commercial finds at Ruru, on the edge of the Maui gas field, in the Great South and Reinga basins, the commercial Pohokura and Kapuni gas-condensate fields and the Maari-Manaia oil field.

There were also several environmental topics discussed, including climate change, minimising marine mammal disturbances during seismic survey operations, and the future decommissioning of several offshore fields during the next decade or so.

Shell Todd Oil Services and Austrian-headquartered multinational OMV were the big winners at the inaugural New Zealand Petroleum Conference awards, sponsored by multinational Chevron and announced as part of the 2017 conference.

OMV picked up the awards for Exceptional Health, Safety and Environmental Leadership and for Excellence in Community Partnership and Engagement, while Shell Todd Oil Services (STOS) received the award for Outstanding Innovation in Oil and Gas.

OMV received the health, safety and environmental (HSE) leadership award for the installation of an offshore oil recovery skimmer in the Maari field during June 2016, which gives OMV, the operator, “In-Field Tier One” capabilities that have greatly improved OMV’s ability to quickly respond to a range of potential oil spill responses should any incidences occur.

OMV received the community partnership and engagement award for the company’s support for insulating low-income homes in Taranaki since 2007, providing funding of approximately $NZ400,000.

STOS received the innovation award for the work it undertook during the onshore Taranaki Kapuni 3D seismic survey from April 2015 to August 2016.

This was the largest and most-advanced survey of its type yet done in New Zealand, with its primary aim being to extend the life of the country’s oldest producing natural gas field. The survey was the highest equal node deployment yet achieved worldwide, using 30,000 state-of-the-art cable-free nodes. There were 3000 face-to-face meetings with over 1000 landowners, two iwi, five hapū, three local councils, as well as other interested parties.

The local economic impact of the survey was significant, with the survey injecting $NZ15.9 million into the New Zealand economy, including $NZ6.9 million spent in southern Taranaki. Local people also made up 70 percent of the workforce, 50 percent of whom had local hapū affiliations, with many being upskilled in HSE, first aid, NZQA certifications and the use of seismic survey equipment.