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The Great South Basin, off Otago and Southland, is in the
Government's latest tendering round for oil and gas
exploration, which covers more than 400,000sq km, both on and
offshore around the country.
The 2014 block offer was announced by Energy and Resources
Minister Simon Bridges yesterday, and he also invited
nominations from the oil industry on which blocks they would
like to see offered for 2015 tendering.
Mr Bridges said while New Zealand needed to reduce carbon
emissions from its energy use and respond to climate change,
in the transition to a low-carbon economy ''fossil fuels will
remain an important part of the mix''.
''Oil and gas will continue to play a key role in ensuring
our energy supply is reliable and affordable,'' he said in a
speech at the Advantage NZ 2014 Geotechnical Petroleum Forum
in Wellington yesterday.
For 2014, there are onshore areas in the East Coast, Taranaki
and West Coast basins, and the offshore areas are in the
Reinga-Northland Basin, Taranaki Basin, New Caledonia Basin,
Pegasus-East Coast Basin, and Great South Basin and
Mr Bridges said oil and gas exploration had ''barely
scratched the surface of our potential''.
''If just one more of our 18 [prospect] basins was opened for
production, like Taranaki, it would be an economic
game-changer for our nation,'' he said in a statement.
Oil exports in 2012 were worth about $1.8 billion, with the
Government getting about 42% of profits, or about $700
million each year, he said.
The Government would continue to work hard to attract major
international companies to invest in petroleum exploration
and development in New Zealand.
While outlining all the areas under offer, including the West
Coast of the South Island for the first time, Mr Bridges said
the Great South Basin and Canterbury Basin were prospects for
oil and gas and discoveries dated back to the mid-1970s and
to the 1980s. The two southern areas for offer cover
''It has a long demonstrated active petroleum system that has
been the subject of renewed interest since 2007,'' Mr Bridges
Test drilling was undertaken by the rig Ocean Patriot, off
Oamaru, in 2006 for Australian company Tap Oil and partners,
with no commercial finds. Texas-based Anadarko drilled one
test well in February this year, using the drill ship Noble
Bob Douglas. Results are pending.
Australian-listed company Origin Energy and New Zealand Oil
& Gas hold separate permits in the southern areas, which
could eventuate in drilling. Shell and joint venture partners
OMV and Mitsui hold another permit. The 2014 tender closes on
September 25 and successful bidders will be announced in