Maari offtake 1

Port Taranaki marine pilots Daniel Satherley, left, Guy Mexted, and Jeff Handcock.

Port Taranaki has successfully carried out its first campaign to provide offshore marine services for offtakes at the Maari oil field.

Port Taranaki was contracted by OMV New Zealand earlier this year to provide pilotage and support vessel services during the transfer of petrochemical product from the floating and production storage (FPSO) vessel Raroa to a waiting offtake tanker.

Maari lies 80km off the South Taranaki coast, and product produced by the field is piped to FPSO Raroa, anchored 1.5km away, and stored. Three to four times a year it is offloaded from FPSO Raroa onto an offtake tanker and transported to refineries.

To ensure the operation is carried out safely, marine pilotage is required to navigate the offtake tanker into position about 40 metres astern of FPSO Raroa, and hold her in place while the product is piped aboard.

A launch vessel transfers the pilot to and from the tanker, and a tug delivers the mooring line and offtake hose. The pilot then supervises the connection and disconnection of the offtake hose from FPSO Raroa to the tanker.

“We’re very pleased to have been awarded the contract by OMV to provide these ongoing services,” Port Taranaki general manager operations Alex Park said.

“It highlights the world-class skills and expertise of our marine team, who have a wide range of experience, not only at ports in New Zealand and internationally, but also at offshore operations, including for the energy sector.”

Port Taranaki’s first offtake operation was successfully carried out in March with the transfer of product from FPSO Raroa to tanker MV Sea Dragon.

The 72-hour round trip involved 12 Port Taranaki marine crew, pilot launch Mikotahi and tug Tuakana.

“Conditions at sea off the West Coast can be very challenging, but our marine pilots and our tug and launch crews are adept at handling the changing sea and weather conditions and ensuring all operations are carried out safely and professionally,” Mr Park said.

These skills were on display during the March offtake, with perfect conditions for the connection but challenging conditions for the disconnection, which required careful manoeuvring and management.

“The first campaign went very well under some testing weather and sea conditions.

“We’re looking forward to providing marine services to this important operation into the future, and continuing to build on the strong relationship we have with a key customer,” Mr Park said.

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