New Zealand makes first step in awarding new oil & gas exploration permits

New Zealand’s Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges on Monday announced the start of the Block Offer 2017 process for awarding oil and gas exploration permits.

Each year, the government of New Zealand runs the Block Offer in which companies are invited to tender for permits to explore for oil and gas in a specific area.

According to a statement on Monday by the New Zealand government, the consultation with iwi begins now and will begin with local authorities from October 17 in the areas being proposed for onshore and offshore exploration.

“This is an important first step in the Block Offer process. Feedback from iwi and local authorities ensures that any areas of sensitivity are identified and carefully considered before the tender round is finalized,” Bridges says.

Schedule 4 areas (including national parks and marine reserves) and World Heritage sites are excluded from the Block Offer process.

The consultation will take place on four proposed offshore areas, one proposed offshore/onshore area, and two proposed onshore areas, covering a total area of around 508,691 square kilometers.

“Since the Government adopted the annual Block Offer approach in 2012 we have attracted multiple experienced and capable operators to explore New Zealand’s potential. 

“I acknowledge the challenging low oil-price environment that industry is currently facing but we know commodity prices are cyclical. The Government remains committed to providing a stable and predictable regime.”

The consultation period for Block Offer 2017 runs until November 18, 2016. The final tender area will be announced in March next year.

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