BW Offshore, the Norwegian floating production specialist, is caught up in the complexities of the Tui oilfield off New Zealand brought about by the insolvency of the operator of the field.

The Norwegian company has wanted to demobilise its FPSO Umuroa since the field was shut in last November. It is standard practice for an FPSO to disconnect from its mooring and subsea connections and sail to a port or shipyard once it is no longer required on an offshore oilfield.

The owner of the oilfield - Tamarind Taranaki, a subsidiary of Malaysia's Tamarind Resources - is in liquidation, and this presents legal and contractual challenges around the Tui wells and subsea production equipment.

Various government agencies in New Zealand are trying to work out how to ensure the wells are plugged and abandoned safely, while the FPSO remains stuck on the field.

One government agency - the Environment Protection Authority - said that once the receivers and liquidators have finished their work on Tamarind Taranaki the government is likely to inherit the Tui field.

In the meantime, BWO has just had a High Court decision on 7 April go against it that upholds the Environment Protection Authority's abatement notices that stop BWO from disconnecting and removing its vessel.

A spokesman for New Zealand's upstream association PEPANZ told Upstream: "The issues here are complex given the liquidation of Tamarind and the need to comply with consent conditions. We are surprised by the decision, and are working now to understand the judgment and consider it in more detail."

BWO said in late February 2020 that it has not received any contractual commitments from Tamarind Taranaki since the third quarter of 2019.

The total financial cost to BWO in 2019 was US$23 million, and the company has said it will cost about US$20 million to transport the FPSO to Singapore, which it had hoped to achieve last month.

Meanwhile, Tamarind Resources said in late 2019 that rest of the company - including Tamarind New Zealand Onshore Operations, Tamarind’s 56% share in the Galoc oilfield in the Philippines and Tamarind’s various interests in Australia - "retain the continued support of OCP as the group's key lender" and were unaffected by the Tui situation.

"The management team and staff continue to work to stabilise and grow the remaining business," said Tamarind Resources.