Storm forecast speeds up Helix vessel’s departure towards Tui field

Due to a forecast storm event, Helix Energy Solutions’ semi-submersible vessel Q7000 has departed earlier than planned from Port Taranaki in New Zealand towards the Tui field where it will perform decommissioning work.

Source: Port Taranaki

Q7000 will plug and abandon the wells across the Tui field as part of Phase 3 of decommissioning activities, expected to take around three months.

The specialist well intervention vessel arrived at Port Taranaki on 16 May to carry out a crew exchange and to load supplies for the campaign led by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

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At the port, the vessel was crewed, stocked and fuelled for an early departure today, 18 May, around 2:30 p.m., ahead of a forecasted significant storm event.

“Thanks to the great work of Team Taranaki, in the brief time the vessel was in port we managed to clear customs and biosecurity checks, bunker fuel, change about 70 crew and take on an additional 30, load food supplies, and take on the gear required to get the abandonment campaign underway,” said Nick Jackson, director of Elemental Group, which is providing project management assistance of New Zealand operations for Helix Energy Solutions.

According to Port Taranaki, high winds, a storm surge, and long-period waves are predicted for the region from overnight tonight as an intensifying low-pressure system tracks across the Tasman Sea towards the North Island.

“We expect high north-east winds of 50 knots, a north-west swell of 5.2m, and an extreme long period wave event which, combined, means for safety reasons we have made the decision to exclude commercial vessels from the port from 6pm today,” Port Taranaki general manager operations Alex Park said.

Helix Energy Solutions secured a contract at the end of 2021 for well abandonment, recovery of subsea trees and wellhead severance and recovery, as part of the project’s third phase.

A team of over 100 members on board Q7000 will carry out the work.