The Maari oil field is New Zealand’s largest producing oil field. It lies 80km off the south Taranaki coast.
The Maari field is owned by a joint venture. OMV New Zealand operates and manages the field on behalf of its partners. It holds a 69% share. Horizon Oil International (26%) and Cue Taranaki (5%) are also partners in the field.
Production began in February 2009 and is expected to continue for 10 to 15 years.
Oil is produced from the production wells located on a wellhead platform (Tiro Tiro Moana) and piped to a floating production and storage vessel, the FPSO Raroa, anchored 1.5km away. The oil is offloaded to tankers every fortnight and these tankers take the oil to refineries in Asia and Australia.
In September 2009, an extended reach well was drilled from the Maari wellhead platform to appraise and produce from the Manaia field nearby. In addition, a well was also drilled into a separate formation found 50 metres above the Maari oil bearing sands called M2A. Test production started from Manaia in October, 2010.
Currently, there are nine production wells and two water injection wells in the Maari oil field.
In 2009, oil was New Zealand’s fifth largest export and the Maari field accounted for a significant proportion of those exports.