New Zealand allocates more offshore acreage for exploration

Offshore staff

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – The New Zealand government has made available four offshore release areas under its Block Offer 2016.

The total acreage offered is around 525,500 sq km (202,897 sq mi), of which only 1,060 sq km (409 sq mi) is onshore. Bids must be submitted by Sept. 7, with permits set to be awarded in December.

The release area in the offshore Northland-Reinga basin includes 186,000 sq km (71,815 sq mi) of acreage. Although there is seismic data over this basin dating back to the 1960s, it remains largely unexplored.

However, it is thought to be prospective for oil and gas, with geological similarities to the Taranaki basin.

Offshore Taranaki, almost 61,000 sq km (23,552 sq mi) of acreage is on offer, while the release area in the Pegasus and East Coast basins includes more than 68,000 sq km (26,255 sq mi) of acreage.

Both these basins are considered among New Zealand’s most promising, prospective for oil, gas, and gas-hydrates gas. Results from a government-funded survey off the East Coast are available in this year’s Petroleum Exploration Data Pack.

Finally, the release area in the offshore Great South and Canterbury basins comprises roughly 208,000 sq km (80,309 sq mi) of acreage.

Exploration in these basins started in the early 1970s, with numerous sub-commercial discoveries following. However, they are considered prospective for gas, condensate, and oil.

In the government’s first Block Offer, Shell received a permit in the Great South basin, with permits granted to Woodside and NZOG in Block Offer 2013.


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