16 Dec 2015

Oil companies cut back on NZ exploration

12:28 pm on 16 December 2015

Low oil prices have forced the New Zealand oil industry to cut back its exploration efforts in New Zealand.

Oil rig

Photo: 123rf

Earlier this year the government sought interest from oil and gas companies in a range of on shore and off shore oil exploration areas.

These were to include frontier basins off the coast of Northland and the South Island.

It is part of the block offer process, under which the oil companies bid for the right to search for petroleum, and the most thorough contender wins.

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges said today just nine bids had been received this year compared to 15 last year. None were for frontier territories and all were in Taranaki or off its coast.

Mr Bridges said the lower number of bids was due to a fall in the price of oil to almost a third of what it was 20 months ago.

This had slashed $150 billion from oil companies' budgets over the last year and forced them to cut back on how much they spent on oil and gas prospecting

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