New Zealand is making available seven areas, spread over 165,752 square miles (429,298 square kilometers) for petroleum exploration in the latest tender, with offshore acreage totaling 164,172 square miles (425,205 square kilometers) and onshore acreage occuplying the remaining 1,580 square miles (4,093 square kilometers), Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges revealed at the launch of Block Offer 2015 Monday.
The three onshore area being offered for exploration are:
- 15TAR-R2: located onshore Taranaki – 401 square miles (1,039 square kilometers)
- 15WEC-R1: located onshore West Coast – 775 square miles (2,007 square kilometers)
- 15WEC-R2: located onshore West Coast – 404 square miles (1,046 square kilometers)
The four onshore areas offered for exploration in the tender are:
- 15NRN-R1: located offshore Northland-Reinga – 71,885 square miles (186,181 square kilometers)
- 15TAR-R1: located offshore Taranaki – 21, 333 square miles (55,253 square kilometers)
- 15PEG-R1: located offshore Pegasus/East Coast – 16,994 square miles (44,015 square kilometers)
- 15GSC-R1: located offshore Great-South Cantebury – 54,732 square miles (141,757 square kilometers)
The tender will close Sept. 30, with permits for Block Offer 2015 likely be granted in December.
Block Offer 2015 is a continuation of the annual tender for local and foreign companies to bid for oil and gas exploration blocks that was introduced by the New Zealand government in 2012.
“In 2012 the Government introduced the Block Offer regime which provides an efficient and transparent process for oil and gas permitting, and each year has attracted investment from experienced and capable operators … New Zealand has built a strong, world-class regulatory framework to provide for economic opportunities, while also ensuring the necessary environmental and safety protections. The process for awarding permits is rigorous,” Bridges said.
“It is clear that companies are seeking frontier acreage and long-term opportunities like those which New Zealand has to offer, and this Government remains committed to attracting major international companies to invest in exploration and development in this country,” he added.
In December 2014, the government awarded 15 new onshore and offshore exploration permits as part of Block Offer 2014 to nine oil and gas companies, including major players such as Chevron Corp., Norway’s Statoil ASA and India’s ONGC Videsh Ltd. Six onshore permits awarded under Block Offer 2014 were located across the Taranaki, West Coast and East Coast basins, while the nine offshore permits were spread across the Reinga-Northland, Taranaki, and Pegasus basins.
The petroleum industry in New Zealand has gained greater significance in recent years as its contribution to the economy has risen, with oil sales – the country’s fourth largest export – generating $1.45 billion or NZD 1.7 billion in 2013 while providing employment for more than 7,000 people who earned twice the average New Zealand salary and providing around $680.89 million (NZD 800 million) in royalties and taxes.
Bridges revealed that the tender announcement follows consultation with iwi and local authorities.