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Small step towards new natural gas exploration welcomed

An application to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) by OMV for activity off the Otago Coast is a required step towards further potential work, says the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ).

"This is part of the normal rigorous regulatory process for any activity in our industry," says PEPANZ CEO Cameron Madgwick.

"The EPA has an important role in assessing applications like this, including assessment of the plans and any material impacts activity might have.

"Overall there is very strict oversight and many rules and regulations before any drilling and production can begin. Our industry is very careful to work with local communities and meet the highest safety standards possible, which is why it usually takes years for new projects to begin.

"This activity is not covered by last year’s Government decision to end new offshore exploration permits. Existing holders are required by law to use these permits or relinquish them.

"While there is no guarantee, a discovery of natural gas would be a massive economic boost for Otago and New Zealand as a whole.

"Taranaki provides a great example of how the industry can operate safely and successfully. They have the highest incomes in the country and enjoy major community support and sponsorship."

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