Declining natural gas reserves a real concern

New official figures showing declining natural gas reserves are a real worry for New Zealand, according to the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ).

“By the end of this decade gas production is forecast to be 60% lower, raising serious questions for New Zealand,” says PEPANZ Chief Executive John Carnegie.

“While it’s not all bad news, what happens if we don’t make new discoveries or developments and our supply continues to decline? What – if anything – could we use instead, how much would it cost, and what would this mean for users?

“We are now effectively in a closed system with rapidly shrinking reserves and rapidly shrinking opportunities to replace them. This means we need to consider if we have the right regulatory settings to encourage the investment needed to deliver the outcomes we all want – affordable, reliable and sustainable local energy.

“This is especially important given the impact of Covid-19. Natural gas provides 21% of our total energy, helping power the export industries that will lead our recovery such as food production. It also provides heating, cooking and hot water for around 400,000 homes and users.

“Natural gas has a role in lowering emissions, as confirmed by the Interim Climate Change Committee last year. A strong supply of domestic natural gas means we could reduce the amount of coal we burn, keep electricity prices down and avoid the need to import LNG from Australia.”

The new petroleum reserves data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment are available here.