OMV announces first oil flows from Maari field

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February 25, 2009

OMV, the leading energy group in the European growth belt, announces first oil from Maari, New Zealand’s largest oil field, located 80 km off Taranaki’s south coast, operated by OMV New Zealand in a joint venture with Todd Energy, Horizon Oil International Ltd and Cue Taranaki Pty Ltd. Over its 10-15 year life Maari is expected to produce some 50 mn barrels of oil. A peak production level is expected at approximately 30,000 bbl/d in 2010 (gross).

Helmut Langanger, OMV Executive Board member responsible for Exploration and Production stated: “New Zealand’s largest oil field passed a significant milestone with oil flowing to the permanent production facilities for the first time. This field has the potential to establish OMV as the largest liquid hydrocarbon producer in New Zealand.”

The first oil flow marks just over 25 years since the Maari field was first discovered. Back then, the depth of the water, distance from shore and the waxy nature of the oil meant cost effective production was not possible.

“It’s very satisfying to get to this point,” said OMV New Zealand Managing Director Steve Hounsell.

Drilling rig has been in place at the Maari wellhead platform since November last year, to drill a total eight wells, five production and three water injectors. Two wells have been completed; the second one is currently being hooked up to the production facilities. The other production wells will progressively come on stream over the next few months.

Over the next two weeks, production testing will take place to ensure the floating production, storage and the offtake vessel, the Raroa, is ready to process the field’s output. The vessel is anchored 1.5 km from the wellhead platform, Tirotiro Moana.

The Raroa’s role is to separate the oil from any gas and water and provide temporary storage until tankers arrive to transfer the oil to refineries. The first offtake is expected to occur in April 2009. Mr. Hounsell said the Maari development and subsequent production has been also great news for Taranaki and New Zealand.

Field development, including some further appraisal drilling by the drilling rig is expected to be completed by the third quarter of this year.

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