Oil and gas could pay royalties of $13 billion

The government could pocket nearly $13 billion in royalties from oil and gas fields in and around New Zealand, a new report suggests.

The Woodward report shows the government will take more than $3 billion from oil and gas fields already in production, potentially rising to $12.7 billion, which the government says will help pay for schools, hospitals, broadband and roads.

“People want to be sure that the environment is protected and they also want jobs and growth,’’ says Acting Energy and Resources Minister Hekia Parata.

“We have seen the difference the oil and gas industry has made in Taranaki, employing over 5,000 people (in 2009) and contributing $2 billion to our country’s GDP.’’

Ms Parata also announced today proposed changes to the way permits are issued for oil and gas exploration.

Currently companies can apply to explore any area in New Zealand, the proposed approach would see the Government open up a limited range of specific areas for tender.

“The proposed approach would allow us to focus on areas of greatest potential, and will be more transparent for the public, who would know which areas are available for permitting and which are not.

“Communities and iwi would have an opportunity to comment on the proposed areas to be opened up,” says Ms Parata.

There is a 40-day working period for which people can make submissions on the proposed change to the permitting system.

Ms Parata also announced the government is reviewing the Crown Minerals Act (1991) and that a discussion document will be put out for consultation before the end of the year, with revised legislation in 2012. This follows on from the earlier round of consultation in August 2010.

“The act is 20 years old and the review will focus on updating and aligning it with the government's economic agenda,’’ says Ms Parata.

The government today also released The New Zealand Energy Strategy and the New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy

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