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GNS Leads Push For New Petroleum Research Centre

GNS Leads Push For New Petroleum Research Centre

Geological and Nuclear Sciences Ltd (GNS) is leading the development of a national petroleum exploration research centre to boost the level of oil and gas exploration in New Zealand.

The aim of the initiative is to attract state and corporate support to double the $4 million a year the government currently invests in petroleum exploration research.

A virtual entity, it will be steered by the exploration industry and will involve seamless collaboration between universities, industry, and GNS.

The centre will help reduce the geological risk of exploring in New Zealand and will work to maximize the value of our oil and gas resources.

GNS Hydrocarbons Section Manager, David Darby, said it would do this by acquiring new data and knowledge and implementing new technologies to help exploration companies explore New Zealand's sedimentary basins.

" Modern seismic data is urgently needed to assess the prospectivity of New Zealand's frontier basins," Dr Darby said.

GNS was delighted with the industry support when it unveiled the initiative at a petroleum industry conference in Auckland last month.

There was wide agreement in the exploration industry that combining the efforts of all research providers would produce better results than individual efforts, Dr Darby said.

A key impetus for the initiative was the need to triple the level of exploration in New Zealand. Analysts and commentators agree a much higher level of exploration is needed to find a replacement for the Maui field before it runs out.

New Zealand sedimentary basins were under-explored. Even in the most developed area, Taranaki, there was potential for new discoveries.

Much work was needed to be done to prove New Zealand's petroleum systems to the point where explorers could drill for significant targets with reasonable confidence.

" We're competing on a world stage for exploration investment. It's not enough to be as attractive as Northern Hemisphere plays - New Zealand needs to be more attractive.

" There are good indications that all of the sedimentary basins surrounding New Zealand contain extensive petroleum systems. We need to be able to demonstrate the likelihood of significant accumulations before companies will risk money on drilling expensive wells."

The geological complexity and lack of knowledge of New Zealand's basins were significant factors in keeping exploration companies away.

" Lowering the geological risk by increasing and pooling our research effort is the best way to turn that around."

GNS is currently preparing a business case so a proposal can be made to secure funding for the centre.

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