22 Apr 2018

Another 50 years of oil exploration possible - Minister

3:43 pm on 22 April 2018

There could still be oil and gas exploration going on in New Zealand in 50 years' time, despite government moves against the practice, says the Energy Minister.

Megan Woods on TVNZ's Q+A

Megan Woods on TVNZ's Q+A Photo: Screenshot / TVNZ

The government has decided to stop issuing new permits for offshore exploration as a means of tackling climate change.

But Megan Woods says current permits will continue until at least 2030 and some exploration and mining work could be extended as far as 2070.

She told TVNZ's Q+A there were currently permits for offshore exploring covering an area equivalent to the area of the North Island, and it was likely some oil and gas will be found.

"There's 100,000 square kilometres of New Zealand that is currently under exploration permits. Now, that's roughly the size of the North Island, which is 113,000 square kilometres. You'd probably look at a 10 percent to 15 percent chance is what the industry would say of actually finding something."

Ms Woods said it was not true to say the announcements surprised the industry as the Government's moves had been well signalled in advance.

She said the oil industry "absolutely" knew the government's plans.

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