New Zealand government to reverse ban on oil and gas exploration

Oil rig at an undisclosed location
Photo: (representative photo only)

Removing the ban on petroleum exploration beyond onshore Taranaki in New Zealand is part of a suite of proposed amendments to the Crown Minerals Act to deal with the energy security challenges posed by rapidly declining natural gas reserves, New Zealand Resources Minister Shane Jones confirmed.

Mr Jones said that the exploration ban introduced by the government in 2018 not only halted the exploration needed to identify new sources, it also reduced investment in further development of New Zealand’s known gas fields that sustain the country’s current levels of use.

The minister added that, without the investment, New Zealand is now in a situation where its annual natural gas production is expected to peak this year and undergo a sustained decline, indicating an issue related to security of supply.

The Crown Minerals Amendment Bill will be the latest piece of legislative reform introduced by the government aimed at cutting red tape to enable crucial resources and infrastructure projects across New Zealand, and benefits to flow to communities. The bill will be introduced to the country’s parliament in the second half of 2024.

The Crown Minerals Act Amendment Bill proposes a number of provisions including reversing the 2018 ban on new petroleum exploration outside onshore Taranaki.

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