New Zealand dishes out blocks

New Zealand: the government has awarded 10 blocks in both onshore and offshore areas

The New Zealand government has awarded 10 exploration permits, spread evenly between both onshore and offshore areas, in its 2012 Block offer.

Seven of the 10 blocks on offer were in the Taranaki basin, while two lie in the Pegasus basin and the remaining block is located in the Great South basin.

A joint venture between Cheal Petroleum and East West Petroleum picked up three permits in the onshore Taranaki basin, one was awarded to Tag Oil and New Zealand Energy Corporation and New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZOG) were also awarded an onshore permit in the basin.

Todd Exploration and Cue Energy Resources won an offshore block in the Taranaki basin, while NZOG was also awarded an offshore Taranaki permit.

US independent Anadarko Petroleum was awarded the two offshore blocks in the previously unexplored Pegasus basin while a joint venture between Shell, OMV and Mitsui was awarded the permit in the Great South basin.

“Collectively the permits represent committed work programme expenditure of NZ$82 million(US$68.6 million), which, if initial work is successful, could lead to the expenditure of a further $776NZ million within five years,” New Zealand Energy & Resources Minister, Phil Heatley, said.

Heatley added that the government was aiming for New Zealand to have an economically sustainable industry that supported the local economy and the country’s international competitiveness “for the foreseeable future”.

“This means realising the full potential of our one producing basin – Taranaki – and exploring new frontier basins that may support this country in years to come,” he said.

“The award of two permits over the previously unexplored Pegasus basin and another in the Great South basin confirms the potential prospectivity of New Zealand outside Taranaki.

New Zealand had placed 23 blocks on offer for the 2012 licensing round covering over 40.2 million hectares of offshore area and 3.3 million hectares onshore.

This is the first year the country has released acreage in a formal bid round, moving away from its traditional first-come first-served policy of previous years.

Hartley said New Zealand planned to continue with the new system next year and in to the foreseeable future.

As previously reported by Upstream, the government has already provisionally selected the offshore and onshore exploration acreage it intends to put up in the 2013 block offer.

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