A permit for oil exploration in the Reinga Northland Basin
has been awarded to Norwegian energy company Statoil Lambda.
The Government says the five permits awarded yesterday off
the New Zealand coast collectively represent $62 million in
committed expenditure on initial exploration. If successful,
that could lead to further exploration work worth $720
There is no breakdown of what the potential dollars look like
The 15-year Reinga-Northland permit covers 9818.9km sq, about
100km offshore, in water up to 2000m deep.
The area was in the permit block offer announced on November
Statoil has to collect new seismic data and undertake a sea
floor survey within the first three years.
Health, safety and the environment is always the company's
first priority, said a Statoil senior vice president Erling
Statoil will now enter extensive dialogue with New Zealand
authorities, engage with a wide range of stakeholders in
order to understand the local community, and ensure adherence
with local regulations, customs and considerations, Mr Vagnes
Statoil employs 23,000 people in 33 countries, and 67 per
cent of the company is owned by a Norwegian government
Northland MP Mike Sabin and Whangarei's Phil Heatley have
been quick to applaud the permit but the Green Party, iwi,
conservationists and anti-drilling campaigners are not so
Greens energy spokesman Gareth Hughes said the major benefits
will go to "Norwegian pensioners". At 42 per cent, including
all associated business taxes, this Government's royalty take
is the fourth lowest in the world, Mr Hughes said.
But Mr Sabin is predicting the move will put Northland "on
the map as a destination for investors in oil and gas". Mr
Sabin said the National Government was committed to
developing the country's oil, gas and minerals resources.
Mr Heatley said as a Minister of Energy and Resources he
visited a Statoil rig in the North Sea. "Northland couldn't
host a more environmentally conscious and experienced company
Earlier this month about 200 people attended a hui at Ahipara
about the then proposed permits, where concerns were raised
about inadequate local consultation by New Zealand Petroleum
and Minerals or other agencies.
Yesterday the convenor Rueben Taipari Porter said the
resolution from that hui remained the same: "We will not
support any oil exploration in the Reinga basin at all
[because] there has been no proper consultation whatsoever."
Te Runanga o te Rarawa, representing several Far North hapu,
had called for a postponement of the permit issue while
Treaty of Waitangi claims relevant to the area are in the
- By Lindy Laird of the Northern Advocate