Specialist oil and gas tender vessel Sealink
161 arrived in Dunedin's upper harbour late on Monday to
support hydrographic seismic survey ship Polarcus
Alima, which is working about 60km off the coast of
Polarcus is carrying out a three-week,
three-dimensional 600sq km seismic survey of the seabed,
understood to be costing $8 million to $10 million, for
listed New Zealand Oil and Gas, around the Clipper oil and
NZOG external relations manager John Pagani said when
contacted Sealink would be supplying Polarcus,
which under other contracts had visited Dunedin in the past,
but would not be putting into Dunedin this time.
A year ago, Brazilian oil giant Petrobras exited its New
Its seismic survey vessel Orient Explorer was dogged
at sea by Greenpeace and other protesters, but a subsequent
controversial law change raised the penalties against
protesting at sea.
During the 3-D survey off Oamaru, Polarcus has 12
sensor streamers, 100m apart and each trailing the vessel by
8km, picking up acoustic soundings, with cautions being
relayed to other shipping on maritime radio.
Mr Pagani estimated the data collected would go into a queue
for processing in Perth and could take take up to six months
After that, geo-scientists could take up to a year to analyse
The Clipper prospect is one of several off Oamaru's coast
which have attracted attention during the past more than two
decades, including other adjacent prospects Barque, Caravel
and Carrack, but none of which have delivered commercially
viable exploration or test results.
Sealink 161 is 60m long by 14m wide and variously
listed as a supply ship and anchor-handling vessel, with a
large, flat aft-deck.
The vessel's arrivals and departures are confidential and
tight security has been in place in the boat's upper-harbour
berth in Dunedin.
In late November, in a joint venture with OMV New Zealand,
the drill programme operator and 65% shareholder, and Octanex
(22.5%), NZOG (12.5%) began test-drilling off the Taranaki
The oil rig Kan Tan IV began drilling at Matuku-1, in
130m of water, and is expected to take about 45 days to drill
to a depth of 4750m.
Shell is yet to make a final decision whether to drill, or
drop, its Southern Ocean exploration permit, but separately
is scheduled to go ahead with a two-dimensional, 70-day
seismic survey south of Dunedin in the Great South Basin, in
•Texas-based Anadarko's contracted drill ship Noble Bob
Douglas is still drilling off the coast of Taranaki.
Next, it would drill a hole off the Otago coast in late
January or February, but no final decision on the date had
been made, a spokesman said yesterday.