“With oil prices at record levels it is important that we maximise the potential for new exploration investment, and we have done this through the course of the year with a broad range of opportunities in both developed and frontier petroleum basins.
"Unlike recent announcements in frontier basins, the new blocks were a well-explored region and I therefore expect a high level of interest from both domestic and international petroleum explorers.
“Several of these permits are within close proximity to proven fields such as Kupe, Maui and Pohokura, and so the prospectivity of the region is already established,” Mr Duynhoven said.
The decision to allocate the blocks by way of a competitive bidding process was a deliberate departure from the previous “first in first served” policy which had applied in past years.
“There is a need to find new oil and gas discoveries quickly, and so we must ensure that acreage is awarded to explorers who are prepared to do the best and most aggressive exploration,” said Mr Duynhoven.
The latest blocks offer also responded to the expectations of the exploration industry that expired or relinquished permits would be “recycled” as quickly as possible to ensure continuity of exploration in areas with recognised potential.
“In addition to a major announcement next month regarding the Great South Basin, we will continue to allocate exploration blocks in the coming months whenever a new opportunity arises.
"There will be ongoing consideration of further options to stimulate exploration in New Zealand to complement recent Government initiatives, and that these options would be developed in discussion with a range of explorers," said Mr Duynhoven today.
Details of the Offshore Taranaki and Wanganui Blocks Offer including location maps, terms and conditions, and free technical data, can be obtained from the Crown Minerals website: www.crownminerals.govt.nz/petroleum/blocks
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