Govt To Push Oil Exploration


The Government is to heavily push oil exploration around our shores and has told critics they have to change their concerns.
“We want to ensure that New Zealand continues to be an attractive global destination for exploration and production investment,” Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee told a conference in Auckland this morning.
He said that some interest groups have raised concerns that the development of natural resources will be in conflict with or at the expense of the environment but the government doesn’t agree with this.
“In fact, people need to shift their thinking on exactly this issue. The development of New Zealand’s natural resources and the protection of the environment are not mutually exclusive actions. I would strongly argue that it is only through a strong economy that New Zealand can afford the expenditure required to look after and improve our environment.”
International experts, local industry, government decision-makers and officials are at the conference to discuss the role the petroleum sector could play in transforming the New Zealand economy.
The biennial New Zealand Petroleum Conference spotlight is on how to unlock the potential of our petroleum resources.
The Minister told delegates: “For far too long, New Zealand has not taken advantage of the wealth hidden in our hills, in our oceans, and in the ground. The reality is that New Zealand has the 4th largest exclusive economic zone in the world with 15 recognised basins which are potentially capable of producing hydrocarbons.
“The government wants to send the message that New Zealand is prospective for hydrocarbons and open for business.”
Acknowledging the recent Gulf oil spill, he added: “This government is committed to an environmentally responsible regime for managing our petroleum estate and is advancing that work as a matter of priority..”

Thousands marched in Queen St's anti mining protest

Mr Brownlee announced:

  • The Government is going to create a larger and more high profile Crown Minerals group within the Ministry of Economic Development. The new unit will have a “much more commercial and strategic approach.”
  • It will also set up an advisory board to oversee the new unit, with a range of technical and commercial perspectives to support the development of commercial resource management approaches.
  • It’s also going to update the Crown Minerals Act, which provides the framework for management and allocation of rights to Crown-owned minerals.
  • Officials are also being asked to investigate the potential of methane hydrates, which have  been known to exist around the New Zealand coast since the 1970s. They were then a scientific curiosity and later a potential hazard to oil and gas exploration.

The first indication of research to date suggests the hydrate resource could be as large as 800 trillion cubic feet of recoverable reserve.
These deposits are potentially some of the most accessible in the world as they occur close to shore and in water depths from only 1000m, which is much shallower than those identified in areas such as India, the Gulf of Mexico, Japan and Korea.
“With the assistance of research into New Zealand hydrate deposits by the scientific community, we now recognise they are a potentially rich and important source of energy, assuming technology can be developed to release and commercialise the gas.”
On the environmental issues of the Gulf spill, the minister said he hsd instructed officials from Maritime New Zealand, the Department of Labour, and the Ministry of Economic Development to undertake a review of our environmental, health and safety regulations to “ensure New Zealand’s are fit for purpose.”




  1. Cam says:

    So their plan for our economy is dig and hope?

  2. Nick R says:

    Well if they do find anything I hope they can invest the proceeds in sustainable infrastructure and not just piss it away on cheap gas for cars and heating.

  3. Jeremy says:

    haah, you’ve got to be joking Nick? All this government wants to do is sell shit for a quick buck and make themselves a pretty penny, infact that’s all national want to do. They dont give two shits about the future and repercussions.

  4. BD says:

    The government has gone mental, especially after the Gulf Of Mexico oil spill and the Christchurch earthquake. Some people probably won’t agree with what I’m basically saying on here. The government is proposed to open up oil exploration on the East Coast, in an environment that suffers from frequent earthquakes and deep sea waters like the Gulf of Mexico.

    I find this a bit rich, when governments keep telling us that oil is running out and we need to find alternative forms of energy when another says that we need to increase oil exploration makes no sense to me what so ever.

    The bottom line in doing this is to make more money, charge people more for the petrol they use, by making them think that oil is running out, but at the same time degrading our environmetn by encouraging drilling companies to take our minerals, and then send the profits overseas, which will have little benefit to the NZ economy.

    The bottomline here guys is to Vote National out in 2011, I’m sick of a government that always does things against peoples wishes.

  5. Joshua says:

    BD - I’d be pretty careful, right now everyone is talking about how valuable oil is, and how we are meeting or about to meet peak oil. To me it seems people are developing different alternatives to power our daily lives. If peak oil is in fact going to occur and occur soon, wouldn’t now be the ideal time to find these minerals? It would do wonders for the national economy, and with all the developments in technology leading away from oil use, I would tend to believe now is the time we will obtain most value from this natural resource. So the fact that we are running out makes perfect sense to why we need to be finding more, or is that not how logic works?

    Jeremy - Funny that the National Government seems to be the brunt of all our problems, I mean when Labour managed to squander our billion dollar surplus on who knows what, thats fine. But when National are trying to recover the now apparent debt, everyone complains.

    Nick R - Agreed, if we can find anything we could use the proceeds to invest into our infrastructure to kill our reliance on the black gold. I’m not sure if that would happen given our governments current attitude, but would be good.

    Cam - My philosophy is educationally dig and hope so when can get top dollar for our resource, then re-invest in our infrastructure, with National your statement is probably closer to what this government is thinking, they do however have other plans so they are obviously not pinning all hopes on one sector, that would be a Labour type plan.

  6. karl says:

    Joshua, you are assuming that we didn’t complain about Labour’s attitudes to transport and oil, which is a pretty big presumption. And in the past anyway.

    If this government had any strategy beyond “more motorways for electric cars!” to deal with peak fuel, I might be less scathing.

  7. karl says:

    Further, they would have to find LOTS of oil to even balance the equation - we are already spending a lot more on oil products than we export oil products, so price rises will not only hurt the individual, but also the country. Especially when you consider the pittances that mineral resource extraction is apparently taxed at.


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