Kupe Gas project
The realisation of a dream
Kupe Gas Project is an important venture in New Zealand, supplying the country’s domestic gas needs, LPG for national distribution, and condensate for export to refineries in Australasia and the South Pacific.
Kupe is made up of an offshore platform with three production wells, a 30km raw gas pipeline running from the platform to the shore, an onshore production station near Hawera, and light crude storage and export facilities near Port Taranaki in New Plymouth.
In March 2010, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Honourable John Key, officially opened the Kupe Gas Project, marking almost 20 years between the Kupe field’s discovery and the commencement of commercial operations.
The Kupe field was discovered by New Zealand Oil & Gas in 1986 during exploratory drilling 30km off Ohawe Beach on the southern Taranaki coast. Drilling continued between 1987 and 1990 with another four exploration/appraisal wells drilled, confirming the presence of significant hydrocarbon reserves, however, low international oil and gas prices at the time meant it was not economical to develop the field.
The current joint venture of Origin Energy, Genesis Energy, New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZOG) and Mitsui E&P Australia came together in 2004, when Origin acquired a 50 per cent share and became Operator. This coincided with increasing energy prices in New Zealand and the Kupe Gas Project was born. The final investment decision to proceed with the Kupe development was made in June 2006. Following an extensive regulatory and consenting process, and a special Maori ceremony called a karakia to bless the project, construction began in November 2006 and was completed in late 2009.
The Kupe field is located about 3km beneath the seabed, 30km off the coast of South Taranaki. The onshore production station is located near Hawera near New Plymouth.
Caption: The gas field is situated approximately 30km offshore southwest of Hawera, in the Taranaki Basin. (Click image to enlarge)
Providing cleaner energy to New Zealand
Kupe is a critical part of New Zealand’s energy infrastructure. At peak, the gas produced from the Kupe field will meet 10 to 15 per cent of New Zealand’s annual gas demand and 50 per cent of New Zealand’s LPG demand.
Production is forecast to continue for the next 15 to 20 years. Over the life of the field, it will provide 273 petajoules of natural gas, 1114 kilotonnes of LPG and 17.6 million barrels of light oil.