Cue Energy said has ceased oil production and is de-manning the Maari wellhead platform as it deals with a crack found in one of the platform’s horizontal struts.
The move was taken amid heightened earthquake risk in New Zealand.
OMV New Zealand, who operates the field, said the move was being taken after the fatigue crack was found in one of 12 horizontal struts.
Gabriel Selischi, OMV’s senior vice-president for Australasia, said the crack was around 1.4 metres long.
He said: “We have taken expert external advice which confirms there is no risk to people or the environment. There are 12 horizontal struts and the six levels of the structure are supported by 4 structural legs, consolidated by 20 vertical cross-members. So the platform is very flexible, and has a high level of built-in redundancy.
“Level 3 of this platform is the most exposed to the pressures generated by wind and wave action, so that’s why as operator we undertake regular checks,’ he says.
“The issue is that we have bad weather approaching this weekend, and New Zealand also has a heightened earthquake risk, so we are taking a precautionary approach. 13 of the 34 staff on the WHP
left the WHP yesterday, more will leave today and the remainder tomorrow. Production ceased yesterday and the wells were shut-in.
“Work has started on stabilising the crack and we are actively monitoring it meantime. We’ve engaged specialist advisors to assist in this work, and have been keeping both WorkSafe and Maritime New Zealand fully informed.”