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Seismic survey for petroleum exploration

18 February 2005

East Coast seismic survey for petroleum exploration

Energy Minister Trevor Mallard today launched a major project by the government aimed at attracting oil and gas exploration investment in New Zealand - the first ever seismic survey off the North Island’s East Coast.

“This is an incredibly significant project. We are at a crossroads for exploration in New Zealand. As a “frontier” destination for exploration, competing against well-established petroleum economies in the Middle East and Africa, New Zealand had to take some innovative steps to attract exploration investment," Trevor Mallard said.

“This survey is the first of its kind under the $15 million fund established by the government last year as part of a package of incentives to lift exploration in New Zealand. By commissioning this and other surveys we have a unique opportunity to showcase the oil and gas potential of New Zealand, and to significantly reduce the cost of entry to New Zealand for new explorers.”

The survey will be conducted by Norwegian company, Multiwave Geophysical using the vessel “Pacific Titan” which is due to arrive in Wellington any day now. It will cover 100,000 sq. km off the East Coast, from Wairarapa to Bay of Plenty, and is expected to take four to six weeks, with the data expected to be released in July.

“Feedback from overseas explorers here and from those thinking about investing here suggests we are on the right track with this bold move.

"The East Coast has been chosen as the first petroleum basin to be surveyed because it's considered to be the region with the best potential and also the region which can be developed quickest outside existing production in the Taranaki basin.

“We have spoken with explorers who have come, or are seriously considering coming, to New Zealand and we have no doubt that opening up the frontier basins, supported by freely available seismic data, is the right combination to attract large scale exploration and, in turn, make a real difference to our energy future.

"Of course in the long term, a broader and more sustainable mix of energy options has to be developed to ensure New Zealand’s energy security. However, we must also be practical and ensure that there is continuity of supply during the transition from traditional energy sources, for the good of the economy.

"Domestic gas is a proven, flexible, and relatively efficient and clean energy source which is likely to be a key part of New Zealand’s energy mix for the foreseeable future," Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS

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