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New Zealand’s ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration could cost it billions in lost revenues, the head of the country’s oil and gas industry body Pepanz said, adding that interest in New Zealand oil and gas had begun to recover after the oil price slump right before the ban was introduced.
"The government had been doing a lot of work trying to get that interest up, even in the down part of the cycle and this [Official Information Act request] shows that that work was bearing fruit, but unfortunately that opportunities now been lost and the potentially billions of investment that comes with it," Cameron Madgwick told Stuff.
New Zealand’s government announced in early April all oil and gas exploration offshore the country would be banned in a bid to protect New Zealand from the effects of climate change. The ban, however, will not extend to existing exploration projects.
Earlier, Prime Minister Jacinta Ardent had said that "Those block offers and their popularity have diminished over time. It's become less economic, particularly for offshore," but data from New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment shows that at the end of 2017, it was receiving more interest from oil explorers than at least 2012.
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In fact, news outlet Stuff reports, the MBIE data shows that interest from explorers was particularly strong in offshore blocks. In total, there were 23 so-called nominations from oil and gas companies at the end of 2017, which are expressions of interest but do not necessarily lead to a formal bid for the development of a block.
There are more than 30 active licenses in New Zealand at the moment, of which 22 are for offshore blocks. The country is far from a major oil producer, which will probably facilitate its transition to a carbon-neutral economy by 2050, before that achieving 100 percent renewable power generation by 2035.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.