Shell puts Ruru drilling on hold till summer   10 Jun 2011

Shell New Zealand Ltd. is putting its latest Maui oil and gas field exploration drilling on hold until summer, after multiple disruptions caused by inclement winter weather, country chairman Rob Jaeger has told the ENEX oil industry conference in New Plymouth.

He also revealed Shell is optimistic it can continue to wring many more years of production out of the Kapuni field, which Shell first developed in 1955.

“We are currently planning to embark on a pilot project to evaluate whether we might economically recover what we call more difficult or tight gas from the Kapuni reservoirs,” Jaeger said. “If, and in our business that is always a big if, this is successful, then we see a bright and possibly long future remaining for this field.”

The New Zealand Energy Data File says Kapuni’s total recoverable gas resources, at a 90% probability (P90), amount over the field’s life to 975 PetaJoules of energy, with some 64PJs still to be extracted. However, remaining Kapuni gas reserves at a 50% probability of recovery (P50) are recorded at 105PJs.

By comparison, the world-scale Maui field’s total P90 gas reserves at 3,914PJs, with some 264PJs of P50 reserves estimated still to remain.

Shell is operating the only exploration drilling rig currently active in New Zealand in a search for extensions to the Maui field, which began producing in 1975 and at one time produced 90% of New Zealand’s gas requirements, down to 20% today.

The Ruru prospect, on the southern edge of the offshore Taranaki field, had yet to produce results, but a successful find could see production handled through Shell’s existing onshore production facilities, said Jaeger.

“Given the generally less favourable weather conditions during the New Zealand winter, we have decided to leave the vessel in port, do some upgrade work and resume the drilling programme later this year.”

Shell is also considering another series of the “well interventions” that have helped extend the field’s life to date, and are considering running those from the existing Maui A and B offshore platforms.

With growing pressure on oil explorers over the climate change impact of fossil fuels, Jaeger said Shell looked forward to “honest, open and robust debate where the views of iwi, the contribution of environmentalists, and accurate, credible information about oil and gas can be weighed together.”

With the world population likely to increase from 6.5 billion today to 9 billion in 2050, and rampant growth in developing economies, it was likely fossil fuels would still be contributing 50% of all global energy by the middle of the century, said Jaeger.

Shell believes bio-fuels will be a major part of reducing carbon emissions in the meantime, and that natural gas will be an important transitional fuel as the development of renewable energy sources gains ground.

“Natural gas, which is still relatively abundant, is the quickest and most affordable fossil fuel for achieving near term carbon dioxide emissions targets.

However, a sustainable global energy system would not be able to rely solely on renewable energy meeting projected demand growth through to the middle of the century.

(BusinessDesk)

 

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