New Zealand Offers 5 Blocks for Exploration in 2016 Tender

New Zealand is offering five blocks, spread over 202,902 square miles (525,515 square kilometers) for petroleum exploration in the latest tender, with four offshore acreage totaling 202,492 square miles (524,453 square kilometers) and the sole onshore permit occuplying the remaining 410 square miles (1,062 square kilometers), Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges revealed at the launch of Block Offer 2016 Monday.

The four offshore blocks on offer for exploration are:

  • 16NRN-R1: located offshore Northland-Reinga Basin – 71,885 square miles (186,181 square kilometers)
  • 16TAR-R1: located offshore Taranaki Basin – 23,544 square miles (60,978 square kilometers)
  • 16PEC-R1: located offshore Pegaus/East Coast Basins – 26,511 square miles (68,662 square kilometers)
  • 16GSC-R1: located offshore Great South/Canterbury Basins – 80,553 square miles (208,632 square kilometers)

The lone onshore block being offered for exploration in the tender is:

  • 16TAR-R2: located onshore Taranaki Basin – 410 square miles (1,062 square kilometers)

The invitation for bids for Block Offer 2016 will close Sept. 7, with permits to be granted in December.

Block Offer 2016 is an annual tender exercise for local and foreign companies to bid for oil and gas exploration blocks following its introduction by the New Zealand government in 2012.

"Since 2012, the National Government has granted 44 exploration permits throughout New Zealand by way of the annual Block Offer ... We’ve attracted new operators to our shores including Chevron, Statoil, Woodside and ONGC Videsh, which indicates to me that the Block Offer is an effective means of promoting New Zealand’s potential," Bridges said in a press release Monday.

He added that the "Block Offer is in integral component of New Zealand’s mixed and balanced approach to energy and I believe it offers some excellent opportunities for investment in our petroleum industry."

Such investments are important as "oil remains a significant export earner and natural gas is a vital input to industry, electricity generation and is used in more than 300,000 homes in our country. The industry provides highly skilled and well paid jobs, and pays several hundred million dollars in royalties each year which fund essential infrastructure and services for all New Zealanders," Bridges said.

New Zealand also has untapped potential for natural gas as the petroleum industry believed that the country is “gas-prone”.

"If there is a major gas find in New Zealand, we are in an excellent position to cater to that Asian market. Not only could we reap economic benefits from gas production but in helping those nations replace coal with gas, we would be making a positive contribution to reducing global emissions," the Minister commented.

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