Shrinking exploration puts even more pressure on New Zealand’s energy security

The decision by OMV to surrender over 26,000 square kilometres of offshore exploration puts even more pressure on New Zealand’s long term energy security, according to the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ). 

The available area for offshore oil and gas exploration has now shrunk by two thirds since April 2018.

“New Zealand relies on natural gas to power our industries and keep electricity prices down, but there is now real pressure on our long-term supply,” says PEPANZ Chief Executive John Carnegie.

“Natural gas, like other forms of energy, requires ongoing investment to maintain existing supply let alone add new reserves. For this to happen we need the right regulatory and commercial conditions.

“PEPANZ members are continuing to invest in their existing assets to enhance supply in the short and medium term, but beyond that exploration is required. 

“The Government could help by providing more flexibility for exploration and production permits, which could include extensions of both geographic areas and time limits.

“This is worthwhile because a natural gas find could 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, smoothing the pathway to a lower emissions world.

“It would be much better environmentally and economically if we could produce our own energy ourselves rather than importing LNG from Australia or trying to subsidise our way to prosperity.”