New Zealand: Oil means money – and there is a new push to uncover untapped riches across New Zealand and off its coastline Stuff.co.nz reported. The study of satellite images to find slicks that might indicate oil deposits is just one of the ways science is being used to convince petroleum hunters to invest in New Zealand.
Almost 200 oily patches have been detected in the ocean between Auckland and Cape Reinga, where government has offered up two “block offers” to prospectors. Bids closed last August. Who won? “No announcement has been made,” said a New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals spokesman. Environmental groups believe growing opposition to deep sea oil exploration has government running scared.
Between 2004 and 2009, New Zealand Government earned approximately USD 1.4 billion in tax and USD 1.1b in royalties from the oil and gas industry. A report out of Taranaki, the historic home of New Zealand’s petroleum industry, noted that in 2008, oil and gas were New Zealand’s third biggest export earners behind dairy and meat (they fell to fourth place the following year thanks to resurgent wood exports).
Since 2005, the government has spent USD 37 million acquiring and interpreting the seismic data necessary to petroleum investment. New data has been collected in the East Coast, Great South, Raukumara, Reinga, Pegasus, Transit and Bounty basins. Old data over the Campbell Plateau, outer Taranaki and Northland basins has been reprocessed.
Last month while government agencies like the Department of Conservation were considering how to cut budgets, the New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals business unit was established to replace Crown Minerals – staff numbers were expected to increase from 40 to 70.