GEO ExPro

New Zealand Bidding Round Opens

The government of New Zealand recently opened its annual bidding round for oil and gas exploration permits; between June 8 and October 15, 2012, bids from petroleum exploration and production companies are invited for competitive assessment.
This article appeared in Vol. 9, No. 4 - 2012

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View south along the north Taranaki coast, showing the 120,000 year highstand wave-cut platform and overlying terrace deposits. White cliffs are Late Miocene slope-fan deposits, age equivalents of producing petroleum reservoirs in the subsurface Taranaki Peninsula. Source: Lloyd Homer/GNS A total of 23 areas are available, encompassing about 40,000 km2 offshore in a variety of basins and 3,300 km2 onshore in Waikato, Taranaki, Tasman, the West Coast and Southland. The blocks cover a number of petroleum basins and a variety of environmental settings, and resource types and work programs may target conventional hydrocarbons, including ‘tight’ resources, or unconventional (shale gas, shale oil, and coal seam gas) hydrocarbon systems. A data pack is available with free data relating to the block offer, containing new Kingdom projects, satellite seep studies, reports, 2D and 3D, SEG-Y and well data.

There are multiple sedimentary basins with known or potential hydrocarbons onshore and underlying the extensive continental shelf of New Zealand, as well as several deepwater basins within its Exclusive Economic Zone, although the Taranaki Basin off the east coast of North Island is the only producing basin in the country. Over 400 onshore and offshore exploration and production wells have been drilled to date in the basin, although none beyond the shelf edge, and it remains underexplored compared to many comparable rift complex basins of its size. The rest of New Zealand is seriously underexplored, although many frontier basins yielded discoveries which confirm viable petroleum systems, and it is considered that there is considerable potential for commercial hydrocarbon discoveries under New Zealand’s largely untouched seabed (see GEO ExPro Vol. 8, No. 2 for further information about the petroleum geology of New Zealand).

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