World

New Zealand Oil & Gas to look offshore for oil

New Zealand Oil & Gas to look offshore for oil

New Zealand is halting all new offshore oil and gas exploration to become a global leader in the fight against climate change, the centre-left government said Thursday, but opponents accused it of "economic vandalism".

"There will be no further offshore oil and gas exploration permits granted", said Jacinda Ardern.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's media release put it like this: "The coalition government is taking an important step to address climate change and create a clean, green and sustainable future for New Zealand".

"The point is we are going to be a net zero economy by the year 2050 and that over the course of the next 30 years we are going to be transitioning away from fossil fuels and much more into renewables and other forms of energy and industry", explains James Shaw, co-leader of the Green Party.

New Zealand's annual oil production is only a sliver of that from the UK's declining North Sea basin and makes up just 1.4pc of the country's economy.

"In my view they should have gone further, when you look at the science we can't afford to burn even half of existing oil reserves if we want to avoid a climate catastrophe, so in my view we should have revoked the existing permits and we shouldn't be doing onshore Taranaki oil and gas exploration".

The Prime Minister said that she has taken a responsible step which will give certainty for businesses and communities that depend on fossil fuels.

New Zealand has stunned the energy industry by slapping a new cap on drilling for oil and gas in its waters as part of efforts to combat climate change.

The government said there were now 31 oil and gas exploration permits, with 22 of them offshore.

He says renewable energy can provide nearly all New Zealand's electricity needs in a year of normal rainfall.

This year's blocks offer will be limited to onshore acreage in Taranaki alone.

"Petroleum resources in New Zealand are likely to be gas and gas condensate".

"I mean New Zealand has the fourth biggest exclusive economic zone on the planet", he said.

"This decision is devoid of any rationale".

One of the country's main energy companies, New Zealand Oil & Gas said it had not been warned of the change.

Last month, Ms Ardern's personal acceptance of a 50,000-signature Greenpeace petition telegraphed an announcement. "It certainly has nothing to do with climate change", he said. "These changes will simply shift production elsewhere in the world, not reduce emissions", he said. The government will assist regions such as Taranaki in the transition, including investment in infrastructure and clean energy projects, she said.

Woods said that existing exploration and mining rights would be protected.

The last of these permits ends in 2030 and the right to apply for a mining permit based on a commercial discovery is unchanged.

Mr Jeffries says the company is focusing on assets where its New Zealand capability can add value, with a preference for gas assets because gas is seen in most jurisdictions as a vital energy source for the transition to a lower carbon world.


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