This month, Shell New Zealand announced it had joined the venture exploring the Great South Basin for oil and natural gas. Rob Jager, chairman of Shell Companies in New Zealand, says environmental protection is at the top of its agenda.
Given the potential for both economic bonanza and environmental disaster attached to deep-sea oil and gas drilling in New Zealand's ocean territory, it does seem extraordinary that to date rules relating to such activities have been makeshift and incomplete.
More offshore exploration in the Great South Basin has been confirmed with the New Zealand subsidiary of Austrian oil giant OMV announcing yesterday Shell New Zealand will become its majority joint venture partner; with a further $50 million going into more seaborne seismic data acquisition.
The New Zealand subsidiary of Austrian oil giant OMV is expected to announce an update in Invercargill today on whether it will test-drill offshore for oil and gas in the Great South Basin.
Protesters holding placards with declarations such as "Drill, Spill and Kill" and "Don't Spoil our Coast" stood their ground outside a meeting between the Dunedin City Council and oil company Anadarko yesterday.
A delegation from American oil giant Anadarko will be in Dunedin next week for private talks with the Dunedin City Council about offshore drilling.
American oil giant Anadarko remains committed to its $US30 million ($NZ36.5 million) pledge to a deep-water test drilling programme in the Canterbury Basin 65km off the coast from Dunedin, but is yet to make a final decision on the drill date.
It might have been freezing, but smearing themselves with a mixture of vegetable oil and molasses and plunging into the ocean at Moeraki yesterday was worth it for a group of deep-sea oil-drilling protesters.
Several swimmers forced the seismic survey vessel Orient Explorer off course during protest action yesterday against deep sea oil drilling off East Cape.
Oil giant OMV New Zealand is sending positive signals on the potential for exploration drilling in Great South Basin, after altering work commitments which could include more ship-borne seismic acquisition or test drilling.
United States oil giant Anadarko Petroleum Corp is advancing plans to start test drilling in the Canterbury Basin by next summer and is investigating rig-sharing with other companies to spread the multimillion-dollar costs.
The multibillion-dollar proposal for oil exploration in the frontier Great South Basin is over after cornerstone companies United States giant Exxon Mobil and partner Todd Energy relinquished their permit yesterday, citing technical risks and lack of a third partner.
Southern offshore exploration for oil and gas and coal-seam gas around Otago and Southland was updated by OMV New Zealand and listed L&M Energy yesterday, two of the more active explorers in the South.
Flesh has been added to the bones of the Government's oil and gas exploration action plan announced almost a year ago with regulatory changes, reviews and a funding boost to permit agency Crown Minerals.
Unlocking New Zealand's economic potential from petroleum is the theme of the four-day 2010 New Zealand Petroleum Conference starting in Auckland tomorrow.
American oil company Anadarko does not expect its exploration plans in the Canterbury basin, off the coast from Dunedin, to be affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
A new geological map of Fiordland has thrown up a few surprises, GNS Science geologist Dr Ian Turnbull says.
Up to 10 offshore oil exploration wells could be drilled from Timaru to Stewart Island next year and the year after, oil industry expert Dr James Henry told a seminar of about 100 people in Dunedin last night.
The Green Party is calling on the Government to put deep water oil exploration on hold until the exact cause of the Gulf of Mexico catastrophe is identified and ways are found to prevent the same thing happening elsewhere.
The news from the Gulf of Mexico is not good, and there are lessons to be learnt in New Zealand - and, more specifically, Otago - from the oil disaster and its subsequent handling.