One new oil and gas exploration permit awarded

Publish date: 20 December 2017

One new petroleum exploration permit has been granted for Block Offer 2017 to Westside NZ Ltd, says New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals petroleum national manager Josh Adams.

Block Offer 2017 received a number of bids and after a thorough evaluation by NZP&M, which is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, officials have granted one offshore Taranaki permit to Westside, which also operates two onshore production assets, Rimu and Kauri, in southern Taranaki.

The permit covers 547km2 of the offshore Taranaki Basin and has a work programme that includes committed desktop studies. The permit holder has the option to, after 3 years, surrender the permit or commit to seismic surveying or exploration drilling.

The permit does not overlap with Schedule 4 Land or World Heritage sites, but does overlap an ecosystem noted by the Department of Conservation. It also overlies three Customary Marine Title applications made under the Marine and Coastal Areas Act 2011.

The announcement follows a thorough evaluation of a number of bids based on factors including technical capability, and the likely ability of operators to meet health, safety and environmental obligations. It is important that, as a regulator, NZP&M applies the legislation consistently, and that bids meet the requirements of the Crown Minerals Act 1991.

Current exploration activity on pre-existing permits is continuing. In 2016-2017, significant investments in seismic acquisition have been made in the Pegasus Basin off the coast of Wairarapa – the largest 3D survey ever acquired in New Zealand, covering over 13,400km2. Another 3D survey is currently being undertaken in the Taranaki Basin.

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