Thursday, April 12, 2018

New Zealand Halts Future Oil and Gas Offshore Exploration Permits

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern says move ‘will essentially take effect in 30 or more years’ time.’

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern looks to the future with oil exploration ban. (Photograph Credit: Stephen Langdon for the Guardian) Click to Enlarge.
New Zealand said on Thursday it would not grant any new permits for offshore oil and gas exploration, taking the industry by surprise with a decision that it said would push investment overseas.

The center-left Labor-led government said the move would not affect the country’s 22 existing exploration permits, and any oil and gas discoveries from firms holding those licenses could still lead to mining permits of up to 40 years.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who campaigned heavily on preventing climate change in the run-up to last year’s tight election, said the decision was a responsible step and provided certainty for businesses and communities.

“We’re striking the right balance for New Zealand - we’re protecting existing industry, and protecting future generations from climate change,” she said.
New Zealand usually holds an annual tender process to award oil and gas exploration permits, largely in the energy-rich northeastern region of Taranaki.  But interest has waned in recent years due to lower global oil prices.

Only one permit was granted in 2017 compared with 10 in 2013.

The government said on Thursday that permits for searching for onshore oil and gas reserves would continue.

Ardern’s government, which has a support arrangement with the environmentally focused Green Party, ended almost a decade of center-right National rule last October.

Read more at New Zealand Halts Future Oil and Gas Offshore Exploration Permits

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