East Coast to open for oil and gas tenders

Government opens 50,000 sq km despite opposition from council, iwi and hapu.

Government opens 50,000 sq km despite opposition from council, iwi and hapu.

A Statoil offshore oil rig. File picture

DESPITE opposition from Gisborne District Council and East Coast iwi and hapu, the Government has opened up an area of nearly 50,000 square kilometres off the East Coast for oil and gas exploration tenders.

The initial “block offer” for the Pegasus-East Coast offshore area was 75,180 sq km but was reduced to 49,630 sq km following consultation.

It includes an area offshore of Gisborne from just south of Napier to out from Ruatoria.

After consultation, the Government decided to exclude blocks within six miles of the Gisborne shore, split the Hawke’s Bay section into a new area and exclude blocks along the eastern, western and southern fringes due to the commercial environment.

“The reduction was based on an assessment of matters raised by iwi and hapu, and balanced against current market conditions and the potential value of the resource,” New Zealand Petroleum and Mineral national manager petroleum Josh Adams said.

“General themes from matters raised by iwi and hapu include the need to manage the impact of activities on sites of local, cultural and historical significance.”

In response to the wider opposition, such as from Gisborne District Council which last year voted to reaffirm its opposition to offshore oil and gas exploration in the region, Mr Adams said the Government takes a “mixed and balanced approach to energy supply in New Zealand”.

“Petroleum development needs to be balanced with the shift to renewable sources of energy. Oil and gas will be needed for many decades to come. The International Energy Agency expects oil and natural gas will account for almost half of the world’s energy needs until at least 2040.”

Oil and gas could also provide significant economic benefits to the region, he said.

Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins said the low number of permits granted in last year’s block offer reflected a significant downturn in the sector.

“However, activity in New Zealand and globally is expected to pick up as operator margins improve.”

The total New Zealand area included in the tender is 481,735 sq km, less than the 525,515 sq km offered last year.
This year’s area comprises 5102 sq km onshore and 476,632 sq km offshore.

The Government has come under fire from the Green Party for including an area of Lake Te Anau, close to Fiordland National Park, and 35 percent of the North Island Maui’s dolphin sanctuary.

“National’s priorities are all backwards,” said Green Party energy and resources spokesman Gareth Hughes.

“We should be backing local companies to become world leaders in clean energy technology, not bending over backwards to try and attract overseas oil companies to New Zealand.”

DESPITE opposition from Gisborne District Council and East Coast iwi and hapu, the Government has opened up an area of nearly 50,000 square kilometres off the East Coast for oil and gas exploration tenders.

The initial “block offer” for the Pegasus-East Coast offshore area was 75,180 sq km but was reduced to 49,630 sq km following consultation.

It includes an area offshore of Gisborne from just south of Napier to out from Ruatoria.

After consultation, the Government decided to exclude blocks within six miles of the Gisborne shore, split the Hawke’s Bay section into a new area and exclude blocks along the eastern, western and southern fringes due to the commercial environment.

“The reduction was based on an assessment of matters raised by iwi and hapu, and balanced against current market conditions and the potential value of the resource,” New Zealand Petroleum and Mineral national manager petroleum Josh Adams said.

“General themes from matters raised by iwi and hapu include the need to manage the impact of activities on sites of local, cultural and historical significance.”

In response to the wider opposition, such as from Gisborne District Council which last year voted to reaffirm its opposition to offshore oil and gas exploration in the region, Mr Adams said the Government takes a “mixed and balanced approach to energy supply in New Zealand”.

“Petroleum development needs to be balanced with the shift to renewable sources of energy. Oil and gas will be needed for many decades to come. The International Energy Agency expects oil and natural gas will account for almost half of the world’s energy needs until at least 2040.”

Oil and gas could also provide significant economic benefits to the region, he said.

Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins said the low number of permits granted in last year’s block offer reflected a significant downturn in the sector.

“However, activity in New Zealand and globally is expected to pick up as operator margins improve.”

The total New Zealand area included in the tender is 481,735 sq km, less than the 525,515 sq km offered last year.
This year’s area comprises 5102 sq km onshore and 476,632 sq km offshore.

The Government has come under fire from the Green Party for including an area of Lake Te Anau, close to Fiordland National Park, and 35 percent of the North Island Maui’s dolphin sanctuary.

“National’s priorities are all backwards,” said Green Party energy and resources spokesman Gareth Hughes.

“We should be backing local companies to become world leaders in clean energy technology, not bending over backwards to try and attract overseas oil companies to New Zealand.”

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Jenny Morton - 1 year ago
It's disappointing that our Government is flipping the bird to the international community. Not only are iwi, hapu and the council against oil and gas exploration, but were the Government to stand behind its own word it would not allow it. We have signed the Paris treaty on climate change, and rather than exploring for more oil and gas, NZ should be transitioning to renewable energy as fast as possible. The polar icecaps are melting, temperature records are being smashed, coral reefs are dying around the world, including one-fifth of Australia's Great Barrier Reef last year alone, through coral bleaching. Yet the fossil fuel industry has the temerity to say they will be with us for decades. The Government may be in bed with this filthy industry, and the longer they delay making a transition to clean energy the less habitable our planet becomes.

Jacqui Robinson - 1 year ago
Oppose this! Divest all funds from gas and oil and invest in clean energy sources. The ball has started rolling and it's possible - other nations are doing it, why can't we?

@roh@ - 1 year ago
"We should be backing local companies to become world leaders in clean energy technology, not bending over backwards to try and attract overseas oil companies to New Zealand."
I know some of our local companies and establishments are starting to engage and 'bending over backwards' to promote and embrace the opportunities of clean energy technology. What is truly disappointing is such endeavours being blatantly contradicted by 'national' government policies.

Gilbert O'Sughrue - 1 year ago
This Government is still convinced that Neo-liberal economics will save us all. It's had 30 years of failure (except for the rich) to show for the Middle and poorer classes. The main thrust of Neo-liberal economics is "Money trumps all" and sees democracy as an impediment to that ideal.
The World Bank, NZ First and Labour have finally rejected this failed experiment. The Greenies never accepted it. The new guy and his Opportunities Party are against it. Educate yourself on alternatives to Neo-liberal economics.
There is a vote coming up this September. You can make that vote count. Vote for democracy and the rejection of Neo-liberal economics.

Joe Koopu - 1 year ago
GET WHANAU TO VOTE!!!!! Them NOT VOTING guaranteed National back into Government!!!

Grace Worters - 1 month ago
Hey, we are doing an internal on this, would I be able to get some in-depth viewpoints and how the viewpoints may change over time? Thank you!

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