"The Program, which takes effect from January 1, 2005, will launch an exciting year for New Zealand in terms of petroleum exploration," Mr. Duynhoven said.
Considerable work has been undertaken during 2004 to develop a regulatory regime which would encourage both domestic and international petroleum exploration and production companies.
"Prior to these changes, New Zealand was already highly ranked as financially competitive for petroleum exploration and the new changes bring us up into the top 10 countries worldwide for competitiveness."
The Minister said that 2005 represented a watershed for New Zealand in terms of petroleum exploration.
"We have taken major decisions in 2004 to prove that there is life after Maui in terms of gas exploration in New Zealand. While exploration is an inherently uncertain industry, an improved regulatory regime, incentives to explore and three major blocks offers in frontier basins combine to make it an ideal time for new explorers to come to New Zealand."
The Minerals Program for Petroleum 2005 establishes the new policies and procedures for management and allocation of petroleum rights.
"The 2005 program establishes a petroleum regime that promotes the responsible discovery and development of New Zealand's petroleum resources which contribute substantially to our economy," said Mr. Duynhoven.
Amongst the changes introduced by the new Program are:
The Program is the outcome of extensive consultation with the petroleum industry, the electricity industry, iwi and others in Government. It not only provides legislative authority for some of the exploration incentives announced by Cabinet earlier this year, it provides a structure that will ensure the continued efficient allocation of rights to explore and mine for petroleum, and a fair financial return to the Crown as owner." Mr. Duynhoven said.
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