The government of New Zealand has awarded ten oil and gas exploration permits, divided equally between onshore and offshore blocks, to overseas and domestic companies.
New Zealand’s Energy and Resources Minister, Phil Heatley, said that bids came from several overseas firms, including those of the Netherlands, Austria, Canada, the US, Australia and Japan, along with domestic players.
"Strong interest in the Block Offer 2012 permitting round proves that New Zealand is a key destination for both domestic and international investment in oil and gas exploration," Heatley said.
The permits were finalised after the 24 qualifying bids were thoroughly evaluated, for 13 of the 23 blocks that were put out to tender as a part of Block Offer 2012, which took place between June and October 2012.
The evaluation process was done based on the proposed work programme and the technical and financial capability of the bidders.
According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), the overall work associated with these new permits represented NZD$82m ($68.4m) in committed exploration spending and about NZD$766m ($638m) if all the permits reach the full five-year term.
Out of the ten permits, seven are located in the Taranaki Basin, while two are on the Pegasus Basin and one is on the Great South Basin. All the onshore blocks considered for exploration in the latest round pertain to the Taranaki Basin permit, the government said.
A joint venture formed between Shell, OMV and Mitsui has won a permit to drill the Great South Basin off the eastern coast of the South Island, while Anadarko obtained two permits in the Pegasus Basin.
Todd Exploration, Cue Taranaki and New Zealand Oil & Gas were awarded with one offshore permit each in Taranaki Basin, while New Zealand Energy Corporation, New Zealand Oil & Gas and TAG Oil each received one onshore permit in the same basin.
"The oil and gas industry in Taranaki contributes $2bn to our GDP and provides [more than] 5,000 jobs. Other areas can follow in Taranaki’s footsteps," Heatley added.
Image: New Zealand’s Government has awarded ten oil and gas exploration permits, divided equally between offshore and onshore. Photo courtesy of Genghiskhanviet.