Submitted on October 21, 2019

The gas market is opaque relative to the electricity market, but recent major gas field outages have prompted moves to improve transparency.  One of the first improvements is an initiative by the gas industry regulator, the Gas Industry Company, which allows gas producers to post notifications albeit on a voluntary basis.  I picked OMV’s most recent notice as an example of how these should be done.

By Greg Sise, 21 October 2019

The notifications page became available late in July and OMV posted the first notice on 29th July.  Beach Energy has also posted a number of times concerning outages at the Kupe field, which it operates on behalf of owners which include Beach and Genesis Energy:  thank you OMV and Beach Energy.

But the latest notice on 18th October takes the level of detail and transparency to a new level.  It is reproduced in full below.  I like this notice because it:

·                provides a lot detail on the planned work, including the background to the work, i.e. why it is required;

·                the information concerning timing and staging is as specific as it can be at present;

·                the risks to supply are explained in detail;

·                there is a firm undertaking to provide further updates.

 

Perhaps the only thing missing is a way of contacting OMV for more information.

OMV’s notice posted 18th October:

OMV New Zealand has announced it will be undertaking proactive inspection and maintenance work next year on the undersea pipeline at the Pohokura natural gas field. The flexible pipeline connects the Pohokura offshore wells and platform to the onshore production station. The field also produces natural gas from onshore wells.

OMV became the operator of the field in December 2018, and since then OMV has undertaken a review of 2018 outage event ahead of the mandatory pipeline recertification due in mid-2020. As a result, OMV will undertake a full pipeline inspection and any necessary maintenance work in Q1 and Q2 2020. The work is currently in the design and planning phase. Its scope will be finalised, in conjunction with endorsements by the pipeline certifier, by December 2019.

Except during the separate Pohokura production station maintenance work announced by OMV on 29 July 2019, the onshore wells would be expected to be available to flow during the pipeline inspection programme. It is however possible that the inspection may identify remedial action that requires offshore outages in order to undertake the work. The exact duration and timing of any offshore shutdown periods will remain subject to the final plan meeting regulatory requirements, as well as operational and weather related impacts. The safety of people, environment and the assets, will be paramount throughout the campaign.

As a transparent operator, we will communicate with market participants to ensure clear notification in advance of any potential impacts.”