The government's second round of tenders for oil and gas exploration blocks has yielded 10 new exploration licences, including two in the previously unexplored Pegasus Basin to deep-sea exploration specialist Anadarko.
The Pegasus Basin is south of the bottom tip of the North Island and sees the Texas-based explorer adding to its existing suite of deep-sea territories in the Taranaki and Canterbury basins, both of which it plans to explore with a brand-new, purpose-built oil rig in the 2013-14 summer drilling season.
Seven of the eight remaining blocks are in the mature Taranaki Basin, with the only other exploration licence for a little-explored area being awarded to Shell, OMV and Mitsui for territory in the Great South Basin, where Shell is already planning to drill next year.
The government had offered some 23 blocks for tender in June, but received bids on only 13.
Some 24 qualifying bids came from the US, Netherlands, Austria, Canada, Australia, Japan and New Zealand companies.
The accepted bids are:
- Anadarko: two permits in the Pegasus Basin.
- Shell, OMV and Mitsui: one permit in the Great South Basin.
- Todd Exploration and Cue Taranaki: one offshore Taranaki Basin permit.
- NZOG: one offshore Taranaki permit.
- Cheal Petroleum and East West Petroleum: three onshore Taranaki permits.
- TAG Oil: one onshore Taranaki permit.
- NZ Energy Corp and NZOG: one onshore Taranaki permit.
Energy Minister Phil Heatley says the permits represent committed work programme expenditure of $82 million and could lead to the expenditure of a further $776 million within five years.