End of an era as final exploration permit outside Taranaki surrendered

The surrender of the final exploration permit outside of Taranaki is the disappointing end of an era and a further blow to New Zealand’s energy security, according to the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ).

New Zealand Oil and Gas announced today it is surrendering the Toroa permit in the Great South Basin.

“This is not surprising news, but still disappointing,” says PEPANZ chief executive John Carnegie.

“A successful find could have helped lower emissions here in New Zealand and around the world by replacing coal for industrial use and electricity generation.

"Just last month it was announced the Huntly power station is bringing a third coal-fired electricity unit out of storage due in part to looming shortages in the gas market. This is a worrying foretaste of the future.

“New Zealand was once considered a top frontier destination for exploration and development but is no longer seen as a place to invest. A new field could have created thousands of jobs and earned the Government tens of billions in taxes and royalties.

“We need natural gas to power industries, heat our homes and keep electricity prices down. We are now heavily dependent on development and production in Taranaki, given the absence of affordable and realistic fuel sources to natural gas. 

"PEPANZ members are continuing to invest in their existing assets to enhance supply in the short and medium term, but beyond that we need the right conditions to encourage investment.

“Locally produced natural gas rather than imported LNG can help achieve the transition to lower emissions and improve well-being for all New Zealanders.”