New Zealand Opens Onshore Taranaki Basin Block Offer

Associate Energy Minister Harry Duynhoven announced one of the largest onshore blocks offers in recent years, in opening the Onshore Taranaki Basin Blocks offer.

Nine petroleum blocks are being offered and represent a total area of approximately 3,273 square kilometers.

"With oil prices at near record levels it is important that we maximize the potential for new exploration investment.

"A large area has been aggregated in recent years in Taranaki to provide explorers with blocks of material size that contain a broad range of exploration opportunities.

"The size of the blocks and their underlying prospectivity has already attracted interest from a variety of local and overseas exploration companies. Some of these companies bring with them the type of experience required to unlock the deep gas plays which are considered to be under explored," Mr. Duynhoven said.

The blocks offer is being supported by a large and modern technical data package, which will be made freely available to explorers from today.

"While the New Zealand Energy Strategy emphasizes a renewable energy future, it also recognizes that more gas still needs to be found to fuel current thermal baseload and peaking plant for electricity generation, as well as industrial and residential uses.

"The blocks offer will provide significant opportunities to discover and develop new sources of gas for domestic use, as well as oil to assist New Zealand’s energy future and economic growth,” Mr. Duynhoven said.

The bidding round will close on May 30, 2008.