Stranded FPSO Umuroa leaves Tui field after 14 years

The BW Offshore-owned FPSO Umuroa has been disconnected from the Tui field, located offshore New Zealand, after spending 14 years there.

FPSO Umuroa - BW Offshore
FPSO Umuroa; Source: BW Offshore

The FPSO Umoroa had worked on the Tamarind-operated Tui field from 2007 until Tamarind terminated the contract in October 2019, with effect from December of the same year.

Tamarind then in December went into insolvency without any funding secured for the FPSO decommissioning and abandonment liabilities, leaving the vessel stranded on the field.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is now responsible for the decommissioning of the Tui oil field after the liquidation and receivership of Tamarind Taranaki.

MBIE said on Wednesday, 5 May 2021, that the demobilisation phase of the Tui oil field decommissioning was almost complete after a successful disconnection of the FPSO vessel Umuroa.

The ministry also said that the last of the nine anchor chains of the FPSO Umuroa had been disconnected on Tuesday night and the vessel was able to depart the field and New Zealand waters.

According to the latest AIS data, following the disconnection from the field, the FPSO headed to Tasman Bay for anchorage where it was expected to arrive on 5 May.

Chris Bunny, Deputy Chief Executive, Building, Resources and Markets, said: “Work began in January to flush and disconnect the production lines that were attached to the Umuroa and now the mooring system that has held the vessel in place for the last 14 years has been disconnected.

“This phase of the decommissioning has been completed within our expected timeframes and I congratulate BW Offshore (owners of the Umuroa), its contractors and the Tui Project for getting the job done on schedule and in a safe and environmentally responsible manner”, said Bunny.

The equipment that has been lowered to the seafloor will be retrieved, along with other subsea infrastructure, in the next phases of the decommissioning.

The ministry noted that a request for proposals from a shortlist of potential providers for this work was being issued with contract awards expected in the coming months.

The next phase of decommissioning is targeted to start in the summer of 2021/22, subject to the necessary consents and contracts being in place, although there is the option to start the work in the following summer.

To remind, in November last year, MBIE signed an agreement with the owner and operator of the FPSO Umuroa, BW Offshore, to demobilise and disconnect the vessel from the Tui oil field.

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This agreement allowed BW to cease the previously announced liquidation of its subsidiary which owns the FPSO, which had been planned to avoid further accumulation of losses.

Under the terms of the demobilisation agreement, the costs of the disconnection and demobilisation of the FPSO Umuroa will be covered by MBIE. The final costs have yet to be determined.