Successful marine consent for Māui offshore activities
The transitional provisions of the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012 (EEZ Act) required Shell Todd Oil Services (STOS) to obtain marine consent to continue undertaking existing natural gas and gas condensate production activities and proposed new activities associated with these operations in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The Māui natural gas field off the South Taranaki coast has been operating since 1979 and for decades supplied the majority of New Zealand’s natural gas, powering businesses and homes.
Their current production facilities include two platforms, (MPA and MPB) which are located approximately 35 km offshore from the Taranaki region and three submarine pipelines which transport produced natural gas and condensate between the platforms and to the Māui Production Station, at Oaonui, Taranaki.
A hearing in Wellington and New Plymouth was held over three weeks before a Decision Making Committee appointed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Catherine Clarke, Boffa Miskell Planner, was part of the core team that throughout the hearing process, assisted with coordinating and reviewing the extensive evidence and proposed conditions of consent. She provided planning evidence at the hearing and attended expert conferencing on proposed consent conditions.
On 4 June 2015, the Committee appointed by the EPA, granted Shell Todd Oil Services Limited marine consent for offshore activities associated with the Māui natural gas field for the full 35 years, subject to conditions.
After considering all the information provided, the Committee decided that granting marine consent would accord with the sustainable management purpose of the Act. The overall effect of the operations at the Māui offshore facilities on the environment and existing interests was found to be negligible to minor. Many of the effects identified were found to be localised and of a short duration. The Committee considered that adverse effects can be appropriately avoided, remedied or mitigated through the imposition of conditions on the marine consent and the requirements of other marine management regimes. No appeals to the High Court were lodged on the marine consent decision.
Boffa Miskell was part of a large team of professionals that supported Shell Todd Oil Services Limited in the re-consenting process. Our role was to assess the application from a planning perspective within the legislative framework of the EEZ Act. This included preparation of expert evidence, attendance at expert conferencing and presenting planning evidence at the hearing before the Committee appointed by the Environmental Protection Agency.
|Client||Shell Todd Oil Services Limited (STOS)|
|Project team||Catherine Clarke|
Minter Ellison Rudd Watts
|Project date||December 2014 – June 2015|