No exploration off Canterbury coast disappointing news

The decision not to carry out exploratory drilling for oil and gas off the Canterbury coast next year is disappointing news, says the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ).

Beach Energy has confirmed that tentative plans to drill the Wherry prospect around 120km off the coast of Oamaru next year will not proceed.

“This is disappointing news given the major benefits a successful find could deliver to New Zealand,” says PEPANZ Chief Executive John Carnegie.

“A new natural gas field would create thousands of jobs and earn the Government tens of billions in royalties and taxes.

“It could also help lower emissions here in New Zealand and around the world by replacing coal for industrial use and electricity generation.

“Reduced exploration will put even more pressure on our energy security, given our production of natural gas is forecast to rapidly decline this decade.

“It would be much better environmentally and economically if we could produce our own energy ourselves rather than importing LNG from Australia.

“Ideally we hope there could be some flexibility or extension for the permit, given these potential benefits and that there are no new offshore permits being granted.”