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Safety fears force Maari oilfield shutdown

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/11/2016

Oil production has been halted in the Maari offshore field in Taranaki after a crack was discovered in a wellhead platform.

Oil and gas company OMV New Zealand said the 1.4m crack was located in one of the platform's horizontal struts 4m below the waterline.

Australasia vice president Gabriel Selischi said 13 of 34 staff had been taken off the platform with more due to leave on Thursday.

"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," he said.

The crack was found during a routine inspection of an area most exposed to pressures from wind and waves.

Production was shut down at the oilfield on Wednesday with Mr Selischi saying the crack had been stabilised and repair work was underway.

"We have taken expert external advice which confirms there is no risk to people or the environment," he said.

The Maari oilfield is New Zealand's largest and lies 80km off the south Taranaki coast.

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