OMV's major oil and gas exploration campaign is expected to be ended early, while a major maintenance project which could affect half of New Zealand's supply has been stretched by the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Austrian company, which dominates New Zealand's gas supplies, has been undertaking what could conceivably be the last major drilling programme in New Zealand in 2019/2020.
Separately, it is conducting major scheduled maintenance to the pipelines which deliver gas from the Maui and Pohukura fields, which account for more than half of all gas used in New Zealand.
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The COSL prospector - a Chinese rig which drills the wells - has completed drilling the programme's third target, the Toutouwai-1, with results expected in the coming days.
It was then due to move onto the Maui permit to drill the Maui-8 exploration well.
Gabriel Selischi, who heads OMV's operations in New Zealand and Australia, said this was now unlikely.
"It's possible [Toutouwai] will be the last well in the campaign. Exploration has not been identified as a critical service," Selischi said, adding that even if it was allowed to continue, the company would probably be unable to find staff.
"In drilling, we depend very much on people coming in from overseas."
The news adds interest to the results of Toutouwai-1, which are apparently imminent.
In late 2019, respected energy analyst John Kidd warned that without fresh gas discoveries or success in boosting production from existing fields, New Zealand's industrial sector would suffer from higher prices and supply outages.
OMV's first well of the current campaign, also in Taranaki, did not find anything worth developing, nor did its controversial and highly anticipated well in the Great South Basin earlier this year.
On its return to Taranaki the COSL Prospector was boarded by two protesters who had repeatedly been involved in prior actions on behalf of Greenpeace.
After the pair required rescue, medical attention and evacuation by helicopter, Greenpeace disassociated itself , amid calls for prosecution of their sponsors on health and safety grounds.
OMV's two final wells were back in Taranaki. Selischi says negotiations are underway with another party about another rig, which could mean one more South Island well, but warned OMV could not underwrite the sector.
At the same time as the exploration campaign, OMV has had contractors undertaking a major, scheduled refurbishment of the offshore and onshore pipelines which capture the majority of New Zealand's gas production from the Pohukura and Maui fields.
Production from the onshore part of the Pohukura permit - about a fifth of national supply - has been completed, but work continued on the sub-sea pipelines.
Selischi described the activity as "open heart" surgery, which was struck by the restrictions of Covid-19.
Earlier in March OMV implemented its own pandemic plan, which meant it was undertaking the kind of measures Jacinda Ardern described in the Level 2, largely isolating onshore crew set to be involved more than a fortnight before the rest of us.
This is complex business when your project requires not only a custom vessel, the UK-flagged Normand Baltic, but an international mix of 78 to crew it. Deep-sea divers and remote underwater vehicle operators.
Around half of the work is complete, but now OMV is preparing for a crew change, with offshore workers generally not allowed to work for spells of more than four weeks.
Selischi, a Romanian who has worked for OMV around the globe, said he was more relaxed now than over the previous fortnight, waiting for signs of symptoms of COVID-19 both on the vessel and onshore.
"For the moment, all good, and the fact that we've moved to level four, and everyone's confined, in more or less 14 days you can be pretty much certain that you can replace pretty much anybody with someone who does not present a risk of contamination. But in the last two weeks, it was pretty stressful.
"You cannot prepare for a full, catastrophic scenario, but generally, these people are in their 30s, pretty good shape from the immunity point of view, and we have been giving them instructions to prepare for the voyage."
A chunk of New Zealand's gas supply relies on getting the project done, as winter approaches and so does - hopefully - a return to New Zealand's full industrial potential.