3 Feb 2012

Major potential seen for NZ oil industry

9:52 am on 3 February 2012

The Ministry of Economic Development predicts New Zealand could become a net exporter of petroleum by 2030 if new oil fields are developed.

In its briefing paper to the Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley, the ministry projects oil production could almost treble.

Mr Heatley says the oil and gas industry is already the country's fourth biggest export earner and there is real potential for growth.

The oil industry in Taranaki has a good safety and environmental record and that could be repeated elsewhere in New Zealand, he says.

But the Green Party's energy spokesperson says oil exploration returns very little to the country.

Gareth Hughes says the profits head overseas, while the taxpayer carries the environmental risk.

New Zealand would be better off concentrating on green technologies and renewable energy, he believes.