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New Zealand is well-placed to take advantage of the economic benefits of oil and gas exploration, Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins announced today at the launch of the 2017 Block Offer petroleum tender.

“The global exploration and production industry is cyclical – the low number of permits granted in last year’s Block Offer reflects a significant downturn in the sector,” Ms Collins says.

“However, activity in New Zealand and globally is expected to pick up as operator margins improve. The Government will continue to ensure we reap the benefits of petroleum and mineral exploration while adhering to strong environmental and health and safety provisions.”

The annual Block Offer was first introduced in 2012 and provides an effective way for the Government to manage how petroleum permits are allocated.

This year’s Block Offer includes five offshore release areas (in Northland - Reinga, Pegasus - East Coast, Hawke Bay, Taranaki and Great South - Canterbury), and two onshore release areas (in Taranaki and Southland). There is also one offshore/onshore release area in Taranaki.

The total acreage included in the tender is 481,735 km², comprising 5,102 km² onshore and 476,632 km² offshore.

“New Zealand’s petroleum sector is small by global standards but is nonetheless a significant contributor to the economy. Between 2011 and 2015, oil companies invested $7.7 billion in oil and gas exploration and production in New Zealand. Other parts of the economy also benefit from the sector’s demand for goods and services.

“In order to encourage exploration activity, we need to maintain our reputation as open for investment and a good place to do business. At the same time, the Government’s regulatory framework will ensure New Zealand’s unique environment continues to be protected and its high standards of workplace health and safety are maintained.”

More information about Block Offer 2017 can be found on the New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals website https://www.nzpam.govt.nz/

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