When a consortium consisting of Shell, BP and Todd Energy (known as SBPT) first discovered gas at Kapuni in 1959 it was a landmark event for New Zealand.
When the Kapuni field went into production in 1969, it launched a new energy era for the country as both consumers and the commercial sector took advantage of gas as an efficient and low cost energy source. It also paved the way for the development of Taranaki’s energy infrastructure and further field discoveries such as Māui.
Still in production today, Kapuni is the oldest producing gas and condensate field in New Zealand – and is only surpassed in original size by the offshore Māui field.
In 1991, BP decided to exit exploration and production activities within New Zealand and sold its share in the Kapuni field to the remaining partners. The result was that Shell and Todd shares became aligned at 50% each, and the partners’ operating company STOS continued to operate the field.
The Kapuni field is located in the shadow of Mount Taranaki near the small Kaponga township some 65 kilometres south of New Plymouth. The reservoir covers an area of about 10 kilometres by 2.5 kilometres with the main accumulation in gaseous form held in sandstone at depths between 3400 and 3600 metres.
Kapuni facilities currently consist of 16 wells located on nine well sites which feed the gas and condensate via pipelines to the centrally-located Kapuni Production Station.
At the Kapuni Production Station, operated 24/7 by STOS, the bulk of the gas produced is separated into gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and condensate. While the gas is fed into the national gas network, the condensate is piped to the Omata Tank Farm where it is loaded onto oil tankers for transportation to the Marsden Point oil refinery in New Zealand or refineries offshore.