Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

New Zealand Oil & Gas to look offshore for oil

New Zealand Oil & Gas to look offshore for oil

"There will be no further offshore oil and gas exploration permits granted", Jacinda Ardern said in a written statement on the ministry's webpage.

"This is another step on our transition away from fossil fuels and towards a carbon neutral economy", Ardern said in a speech.

"We're striking the right balance for New Zealand - we're protecting existing industry, and protecting future generations from climate change", she said.

The Prime Minister said that she has taken a responsible step which will give certainty for businesses and communities that depend on fossil fuels.

Although New Zealand produces a fraction of 1 per cent of the world's oil, the industry is significant in relative terms domestically.

Under the new policy, existing drilling and exploration permits will not be affected.

"We now have 31 live exploration permits, 22 of them offshore".

New Zealand's oil and gas industry generates roughly $2.5 billion New Zealand dollars (€1.5 billion, $1.8 billion) for the economy.

Companies that find more oil and gas reserves where they already have permits could drill for decades, and new onshore permits could be issued.

"As the industry itself admits, there is good potential for more to be found", Ms Ardern said.

A page on the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise website - a government agency that promotes worldwide trade and economic development - says the government's aim is "to increase the value of New Zealand petroleum exports tenfold" by 2025.

Ardern's latest decision to ban new offshore exploration will not impact the 22 active offshore licenses.

"You force New Zealanders to purchase petroleum products off foreigners, who in many cases, don't have the same level of regulation that we do".

National's Energy and Resources spokesman Jonathan Young said the permit decision was devoid of rationale.

Mr Madgwick said there had been "no direct consultation" with the sector and asked the Government to "talk with the industry urgently".

"These companies and PEPANZ carry a huge load of responsibility for the delay in decarbonisation in New Zealand and the risks to our climate and environment". "These changes will simply shift production elsewhere in the world, not reduce emissions", Mr Young said.

Climate Justice Taranaki member Urs Signer welcomed the Government's decision to cease offshore permitting, but criticised the continued onshore permitting around Taranaki, describing it as "continuing to sacrifice Taranaki for political trade-off".

No jobs lost, no economics rights stripped, exploration to continue for years and a temporary reprieve in the region most dependent on oil exploration.

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