The New Zealand Government allocates petroleum exploration permits in an annual tender called the ‘Block Offer’. This allows the greater control over the areas that we release for exploration.
The Block Offer tender process has improved New Zealand’s profile among international investors. We stimulate competitive interest so we can award exploration permits to the bidder with the best work programme (and the ability to deliver it).
New Zealand has run annual Block Offers since 2012. We select the release areas for Block Offers based on their potential (“prospectivity”) and commercial interest. Before we announce the Block Offer we consult with iwi and hapū in the proposed areas. We also discuss the proposed areas with local government. Areas listed Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991 are automatically excluded.
Information gathered during consultation guides decision-making on the final make-up of the Block Offer. This helps to ensure we identify sites of cultural, historical or environmental value. A report and recommendations are then provided to the Minister of Energy and Resources.
The release areas are announced when Block Offer bidding opens, usually in April each year.
Once bidding closes we assess the bids based on their proposed work programme, and criteria including the applicant’s technical and financial capability and likely capability to meet expected health and safety requirements.
An exploration permit is awarded to enable research into where commercially recoverable reserves of oil and gas may be. Exploration activities can include sampling, aeromagnetic surveys, geological studies, compiling reports and seismic surveys and well-drilling. Permits can be granted for up to 15 years.
Once operators are granted a permit they must arrange consents before they proceed with any exploration activity. Find out more about consents in our guide to the Management of Petroleum and Minerals [16Kb PDF].
- Block Offer 2014 Release Areas
- Block Offer 2014 Invitation for Bids
- Block Offer 2014 Consultation Outcomes
- Past block offers