Wednesday, March 10, 2021


The last oil exploration permit off the South Island has been surrendered:

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZOG) has dropped its final exploration permit, marking the end of an era for an industry which is once again limited entirely to Taranaki.

On Wednesday morning Wellington-headquartered NZOG told the NZX that it had decided to relinquish to the Crown Petroleum Exploration Permit 55794, a roughly 5000 square kilometre permit also known as Toroa, which lies in waters hundreds of kilometres south of Balclutha, to the east of Stewart Island.

While it is not unusual for permits to be returned to the Crown, Toroa was the latest in a string of permits in the area to be relinquished in the Great Southern Basin and Canterbury Basin.

An MBIE official confirmed that assuming all of the surrender applications are accepted, New Zealand will have no exploration permits in any area outside the Taranaki Basin, where all of New Zealand's oil and gas exploration is based.

Good riddance. But the next step is to start getting rid of those off Taranaki. The good news is that one of these - permit 51906, owned by OMV - should be expiring in November. The rest however won't expire until 2027 or 2028. They're mostly owned by OMV, so its really just a matter of waiting for them to get the message that gas has no future in New Zealand, and that the (uncertain) future revenues won't offset the future cost of development. Hopefully the government's industrial electrification and no new connections policies will help convince them of that.