ENERGY

Study commissioned on East Coast oil & gas potential

Friday 28 September 2012, 2:15PM
By Phil Heatley
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A joint economic development study has been commissioned to look at the potential for and benefits of developing an oil and gas industry on the North Island’s East Coast.

The study is a joint initiative between the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and regional economic development agency Business Hawke’s Bay, on behalf of eight East Coast councils.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says the study will offer a realistic assessment of the potential for onshore oil and gas development to contribute to the East Coast economy and provide jobs.

“There is significant interest in exploring the region and there is real potential to grow the oil and gas industry, boost the regional economy and create much needed jobs in areas of the East Coast that have high levels of unemployment,” Mr Joyce says.

“But first we need to understand what the opportunities are. The study will give us a much clearer idea of the region’s oil and gas reserves and the resulting economic benefits; what sort of infrastructure may be required; and outline any environmental risks.”

Mr Joyce today met with mayors and regional council chairs in Hastings that have local government responsibility from Gisborne to Tararua.

“They are very supportive of doing this work. They want to know what oil and gas exploration could mean – both the positives and any potential drawbacks,” Mr Joyce says.

Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley says that as part of the study, input will be sought from a range of interested parties, including industry and local iwi.

“We know how successful oil and gas has been for Taranaki with higher regional wages and low unemployment. The oil and gas industry in Taranaki underpins a thriving community by providing thousands of jobs and contributes billions to the New Zealand economy,” Mr Heatley said.

“This joint report will give us a steer on what the potential is for the East Coast. I will personally be visiting the region in the near future to discuss opportunities with community and iwi leaders.”

The East Coast Oil and Gas Development Study will include:

  • an overview of general development potential in the region, including a report on geology and oil and gas prospectivity
  • a detailed assessment of one potential development scenario by an existing permit-holder, including field development and construction, infrastructure and labour requirements, and environmental impacts. This assessment would be peer reviewed by an independent consultant
  • an economic study of the national impacts of this potential development scenario, and ‘high’ and ‘low’ alternative scenarios
  • a study of the local economic impacts of those scenarios
  • a high-level assessment of the environmental footprint of those scenarios.

 

The study is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

More information is available at: www.med.govt.nz/sectors-industries/natural-resources/oil-and-gas/petroleum-expert-reports