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Oil and gas exploration tenders open

The opening of the 2012 oil and gas tenders announced today by the Ministry of Economic Development is an important step towards realising the potential of New Zealand’s oil and gas resources, Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley said today.

“Although oil and gas have been successfully and safely extracted in Taranaki for several decades, as a country we are still at a relatively early stage in the development of our oil and gas resources.

“We will benefit hugely from the investment of more companies who have knowledge and experience in global exploration and the production of oil and gas, in addition to the current players,” he said.

Oil and gas exploration companies have until 15 October 2012 to submit exploration work programme bids for one or more of 23 onshore and offshore areas, covering just over 40,000 square kilometres of offshore seabed and over 3300 square kilometres of land in Waikato, Taranaki, Tasman, the West Coast and Southland.

“The Government is committed to long-term responsible management of our oil and gas resources. This will create jobs, increase incomes and raise our standard of living.

“We are focused on managing these resources for the benefit of all, including future generations,” the Minister said.

“New Zealanders want jobs and economic growth but want to be sure that any development of our oil and gas resources is done in a safe and environmentally responsible way.

“Alongside the exploration permit process we are making big improvements to the wider regime. These include environmental legislation for the Exclusive Economic Zone, now in Parliament; reviewing the Crown Minerals Act and health and safety regulations for petroleum operations; and a new Code of Conduct for minimising disturbance to marine mammals from acoustic survey work.

“These projects will ensure exploration activity in New Zealand is conducted to the highest standards.”

After the bids for exploration permits close on 15 October, the Ministry will evaluate all bids and the Government expects to award exploration permits by the end of the year.

Information on the tender is available at www.nzpam.govt.nz/cms/petroleum/block-offers.

09 June 2012

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