New Zealand Halts Future Oil And Gas Offshore Exploration Permits

New Zealand Halts Future Oil And Gas Offshore Exploration Permits

New Zealand will stop issuing permits for overseas gas and oil exploration because it moves to battle climate change, the federal government announced Thursday, but it stopped short of halting exploration evaporating.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ahern shocked New Zealand's small oil industry by ruling out any new exploration permits for drilling while the country strives towards a "carbon-neutral" economy.

The Prime Minister says it's an important step in addressing climate change. New Zealand's oil and gas industry contributes NZ$2.5 billion (US$1.8 billion) to its GDP, according to PEPANZ, an organisation which represents the country's petroleum industry.

The move will not affect existing permits for exploration or extraction, meaning the industry is likely to continue in the nation for several more decades. "These and other companies have for years pressured governments to suit themselves, and have actively sought to maintain the environmentally irresponsible fossil fuel production and very poor public policy on climate".

"Just as New Zealand did in 1987 when it went nuclear-free and stood up to the powerful United States military, this has shown bold global leadership on the greatest challenge of our time - putting people ahead of the interests of oil corporations and the hunt for fossil fuels that are driving unsafe climate change", he said.

We are disappointed that onshore Taranaki, where communities have to deal with ongoing fracking and exploration, is exempt from the ban, and that existing offshore exploration contracts will remain.

"The choice is that a lose-lose for New Zealand's market and environment, anticipated to sabotage occupations and indicate higher charges for clients", stated Cameron Madgwick, the association's chairman.

Oil and gas companies are now issued rights to explore "blocks" of the sea each year, covering a total of 100,000 square kilometres.

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But the conservative opposition National Party accused Ardern of "economic vandalism" that could put thousands of jobs at risk.

"This decision is devoid of any rationale".

"We must take this step as part of our package of measures to tackle climate change", she added.

"This statement sends a message into your of Taranaki's leading investors and companies that they don't have a longterm future in New Zealand", may or Neil Holdom said. "These changes will simply shift production elsewhere in the world, not reduce emissions".

"New Zealand First's support is predicated by its commitment to protect the rights of existing permit holders. these permits continue as far out as 2046".

There are more than 30 active licenses in New Zealand at the moment, of which 22 are for offshore blocks. In its announcement however, the government said it wanted to be clear no current jobs would be affected.

Russel Norman, the group's executive director in New Zealand, said the country "has stood up to one of the most powerful industries in the world".

The stance was well signalled in February, when Minister of Energy and Resources Megan Woods extended an offshore oil and gas exploration permit off Oamaru, stating the alternative would have been a judicial review of the permitting process.

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