Proposals for another tendering round offering more oil and
gas exploration blocks around the country for next year were
released yesterday by Government permitting agency New
Zealand Petroleum and Minerals.
While the Government forges ahead to attract oil and gas
explorers, to boost export receipts and jobs, there is
mounting environmental concern over the dangers of deep-sea
drilling, the consenting processes and onshore use of
hydraulic horizontal hydraulic fracturing; or "fracking".
Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley said Taranaki's
existing oil and gas operations contributed $2 billion to
gross domestic product, supported more than 5000 jobs and
provided $400 million in annual royalties and $300 million
from company tax.
"Oil and gas happily co-exist with agriculture and tourism in
Taranaki to everyone's benefit.
The same formula can work just as well in other areas,
growing the local and national economies," Mr Heatley said in
a statement yesterday.
Separately, New Zealand's oil and gas sector escapes other
proposed changes to the Government's royalty and tax regimes,
which will mainly affect new mining companies.
Green Party energy spokesman, Gareth Hughes, said if there
was a leak during deep-sea exploration drilling there was "no
sure way" to stop it and the consequences would be
"catastrophic" for New Zealand's environment, economy and
Oil and gas exploration permits stand for five years, but
under the Crown Minerals (Permitting and Crown Land) Bill
before Parliament, exploration duration would range from 10
to 15 years, including the 2013 permits, if enacted.
This year's 2012 block offering closed in October, with
successful applicants expected to be announced next month,
which included some blocks offered within the Great South
The 2013 bidding round is scheduled to open next April,
following consultation with councils and iwi, with bids
lodged by the end of September and announced before the end
of the year.
Permitted exploration activities include shipborne seismic
surveys, sampling, aeromagnetic surveying, geological
studies, collation of historical reports, analysis of more
recent data and exploratory drilling by an oil rig or drill
Exploration blocks more than 12 nautical miles offshore,
where the Resource Management Act does not apply, come under
the new Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf
(Environmental Effects) Act 2012. Compliance with that
legislation may yet include applying for a marine consent
from the Environmental Protection Authority.
At a glance
2013 block offers.
• Five onshore blocks - three in Taranaki and two East Coast,
North Island. Onshore area: 2310sq km.
• Offshore areas in Northland and Reinga Basins, Taranaki
Basin and Canterbury and Great South Basins. Offshore area: