Ten new permits have been granted for oil exploration in New
Zealand, including two off the coasts of Otago and Southland.
Energy Minister Simon Bridges announced the second round of
block offers yesterday at Parliament.
Five of the permits were for onshore exploration in Taranaki
and the East Coast.
The other five were for offshore exploration in the
Reina-Northland, Taranaki and Great South Canterbury Basins.
Woodside Energy Holdings and New Zealand Oil and Gas have
together been granted a permit to explore an area off the
southeast coast of Southland, east of Stewart Island.
New Zealand Oil and Gas has been granted a permit to explore
an area off the coast from Moeraki.
Both companies must complete seismic testing within a year
from April 2014.
The block offer attracted three new international companies
to prospect in New Zealand and, if testing is positive, could
be worth up to $720 million collectively.
Yesterday's announcement launches one of the country's
largest oil and gas exploration seasons, with 13 wells being
drilled offshore and about 30 onshore.