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Explore now, save later

Explore now, save later

Crown Mineral’s decision to allocate 11 onshore petroleum blocks for exploration is an acknowledgment of the vital role the oil and gas industry plays in both keeping the power on and power bills down.

Last night the crown agency allocated the blocks to a range of exploration companies including to three new junior explorers.

Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand executive officer John Pfahlert said the size of the Taranaki block release underlined the industry’s continued importance to New Zealand, despite recent policy favouring renewable energy.

He said the association was very comfortable with the blocks offer outcome.

“This shows the industry has real confidence in the future of petroleum exploration in New Zealand.”

Mr Pfahlert said increased investment in exploration would secure New Zealand’s energy supply into the future and also underpin a highly promising export industry.

“Without gas-fired power stations this winter, New Zealand would not have been able to keep the lights on.

“Half the gas produced in New Zealand is used for electricity generation, producing 22% of our electricity requirements in 2007.

“These statistics demonstrate the need to complement a renewable energy programme with an active and progressive exploration and production industry.

“Without it, our whole economy will suffer.”

Mr Pfahlert said New Zealand has sufficient gas reserves for electricity generation for at least the next 10 years, but exploration must continue to provide security of supply past that point.

He said while finding more gas was therefore obviously important finding oil was equally so.

“Energy security and self-sufficiency is a ‘global currency’. The more oil and gas we find the more we increase our ‘energy wealth’, which has a range of very significant economic and social benefits which are often overlooked.

“The converse is equally true - soaring power and fuel prices, which we’re experiencing now - are a direct result of policies that marginalise the oil and gas exploration sector,” Mr Pfahlert said.

In the 12 months to 31 July 2008, New Zealand exported oil worth $2.8 billion to the economy. Most of this came from the oil discovery at Tui, offshore Taranaki.

In the 11 months to 30 June 2008, Tui produced 14.2 million barrels of oil, generating revenue of approximately NZ$1.8 billion.

New Zealand benefited from $220m in royalties, along with company tax, GST and income tax.

Taranaki, in particular, has enjoyed significant economic benefit with many local suppliers used by Tui, providing direct and indirect employment.

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