WELLINGTON, New Zealand– New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZOG) says this week’s announcement of a ban on future exploration offshore and onshore New Zealand will not have any immediate material impact on the company’s operations.
It points out that its potentially transformational exploration prospects in the Canterbury and the Great South basins are unaffected, and that it will continue to market these prospects.
NZOG added that its focus is on gas assets because gas is seen in most jurisdictions as a vital energy source for the transition to a lower carbon world.
However, it does view the government’s announcement as a sudden change of policy that has not been consulted on and which appears to conflict with pre-election promises.
NZOG CEO Andrew Jefferies said: “The choice for New Zealand is whether we use our own resources for our own benefit, or New Zealanders rely on overseas energy sources benefitting those economies.”
The ban on new exploration may mean carbon emissions in New Zealand and globally will be higher for longer, he added, because petroleum resources in New Zealand are likely to be gas and gas condensate…If new gas supplies are unavailable then coal will continue to be used domestically for purposes such as dairy drying plants.
A study last year by consultants MartinJenkins found that a discovery in the Barque prospect, offshore from Oamaru in the Canterbury basin, could increase regional GDP by up to $15 billion and earn the New Zealand government $32 billion in royalties and taxes over the life of the field, NZOG said, potentially creating up to 5,740 full-time equivalent jobs per year during construction, and around 2,000 enduring jobs in the region.
While exploration and development related to theBarque prospect will not be impacted by the announcement, other opportunities to develop similar sources of royalties, taxes and regional development will be lost, the company said.