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Government offers Taranaki land to oil explorers on block offer, but with new restrictions including near top surf break



The government has put 2200 square kilometers of Taranaki land for potential oil and gas drilling in the first block offering since imposing severe restrictions on the sector last year.

The much-anticipated document published today outlines new strict rules on how successful bidders should engage with the iwi and it was launched without the Beehive fanfare that surrounded the block offers under the last national government.

Last April, the government surprised the oil and gas industry by banning all new offshore exploration and confining the new shore work to Taranaki instead of opening wide basins off the coast at twice the size of the land mass happened in the past.

In what was a major victory for the Greens, the coalition said it was part of what it said was a plan to move toward a carbon-neutral future in 30 years, in contrast to the national government's hope of turning this country into the country . & Quot; South Pacific Norway & # 39; with large revenue from oil and gas royalties fueling its economic program.

National today described the block offer as a "token".

The NZ Petroleum and Minerals agency of the Ministry of Innovation and Employment is making the offer and says its launch follows the consultation with iwi and hapū.

Involvement with iwi is required for any activity within 200m of sites, including sacred sites, rivers and water courses of cultural significance and regionally significant surf breaks.

"The new condition explicitly requires that license holders engage with iwi on an ongoing basis, with specific requirements for early engagement regarding activities to be performed within 200 meters of significant areas for the iwi," said Ilana Miller, manager Petroleum and Minerals. .

Last November, the Crown Minerals (Petroleum) Amendment Act of 2018 gave effect to the government's announcement in April.

The change in law also prohibits access to conservation lands as part of the bulk bidding process, except for & # 39; & # 39; & # 39; minimum impact & # 39; & # 39 ;.

The much tighter conditions do not satisfy Greenpeace, however, who told the Herald that it wants a complete end to the exploitation of fossil fuels on land and sea and the existing revoked licenses.

"The world can not afford to burn half the fossil fuel reserves we already know without reaching a climactic turning point.

Allowing companies to look for new oils is robbing today's young people the chance for a decent future, "said Amanda Larsson, Greenpeace's climate advocate.

She said that if the government were responding to the latest scientific evidence on climate change, it would go much further than banning new offshore oil and gas licenses, but it has a plan to eliminate imports of gasoline and diesel vehicles, and invest heavily in transportation. and renewable energy.

But the industrial group Petroleum Exploration and Production NZ is diplomatic. He says it was "nice" to see the block offer in progress.

"It is very important for New Zealand to exploit more gas, as around 400,000 companies and homes use natural gas or LPG for heating, cooking and industrial purposes. It's also very important for our electrical system, helping to keep prices low when other sources are scarce. "

Last year, the government said that the time for the inscriptions was limited in order to put the bid of the 2018 block, but admitted that it would not be disclosed during the same year.

Jonathan Young, a spokesman for National Energy and Resources, said the block offer was a "token," since the vast majority of New Zealand's territory was closed for business.

Comments were requested from the energy and resources minister, Megan Woods.

Applications for acerage close on August 28.

In the 12 months ending June 30 last year, royalties paid to the government from minerals were $ 218 million, up from $ 177 million a year earlier, but fell a decade earlier when high production and prices rose to $ 557 million.

During a peak of exploration activity between 2011 and 2015, the companies invested $ 7.7 billion in exploration and production of oil and gas in New Zealand.

Next week, speakers including filmmaker James Cameron and former Midnight Oil leader Peter Garrett will be among the speakers at the Just Transition Summit in New Plymouth.


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