New Zealand bans new offshore oil and gas exploration

15 April, 2018, 07:25 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • An oil rig between Stratford and Midhurst in Taranaki. Ardern will announce no more offshore exploration permits and

There will be public discourse in New Zealand over whether to allow companies with existing licenses - including Statoil and OMV - to carry out extraction if oil or gas were discovered.

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Thursday a ban on all new offshore oil exploration, describing her decision as a transition towards a zero-carbon economy.

"We could be the Norway of the Pacific, but we have a government that's intent on turning us into the Nauru of the Pacific", said former energy minister Judith Collins.

Cairn India has discovered a well estimated to contain 2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 10 million barrels of condensate.

"(We are) taking an important step to address climate change and create a clean, green and sustainable future for New Zealand", Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

"Our known gas supplies will run out in 11 years", it said.

The government said there were now 31 oil and gas exploration permits, with 22 of them offshore.

"We ask the Government to talk with the industry urgently". Most of the industry is based in and round North Island's Taranaki region.

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And Seymour told Leighton Smith that rather than protecting the environment, the move will actually have the opposite affect.

Oil and gas companies are now issued rights to explore "blocks" of the sea each year, covering a total of 100,000 square kilometres. But the conservative opposition National Party accused Ardern of "economic vandalism" that could put thousands of jobs at risk.

"ECO expects that moves to more renewable energy and more public transport will provide more jobs for New Zealanders than oil and gas exploration and mining which is capital intensive and provides comparatively few jobs compared to a low carbon future".

"We must take this step as part of our package of measures to tackle climate change", she added.

But Ms Ardern said no-one would be losing their job as a result of the move.

These include deepwater prospects off the coast of Canterbury and Otago, including the Great South Basin, where exploration has occurred off and on since the 1960s in search for a massive oil and gas field that geological information suggests is probably there, but has never been found. "These changes will simply shift production elsewhere in the world, not reduce emissions", Mr Young said.

"Proper etiquette in these circumstance aren't things I've been well trained in in the past so I've got a bit of a cheat sheet but I'm assured if you get these thing wrong they're very forgiving", she said.

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