New Zealand starts bidding round for Great South Basin

Jul 31, 2006 02:00 AM

Bidding has opened for petroleum exploration permits in the Great South Basin, off the coast of Otago and Southland on New Zealand's South Island.
New Zealand's Associate Energy Minister Harry Duynhoven said that 40 new gas and oil blocks of approximately 9,000 sq km each are being offered to international exploration companies.

A survey of the Great South Basin by the government's Crown Minerals Group in March showed the basin to be larger than previously thought and indicated new signs of oil and gas. Duynhoven said the region is potentially the most exciting development in oil and gas exploration in New Zealand since the discovery 40 years ago of the Maui gas field, offshore of New Plymouth on the country's North Island.
"The Great South Basin is a frontier region where the potential for high reward is matched by high risk in terms of exploration costs and challenging sea and weather conditions," said Duynhoven.

He said the government hopes to attract companies with good technical skills and significant financial resources to spend on exploring the contribution the area could make to New Zealand's energy needs.
"Although the Great South Basin is a proven petroleum system it will require several years of exploration before the full potential of the basin is properly understood," he said.

Crown Minerals, responsible for promoting investment in New Zealand's oil and mineral resources, plans to promote the Great South Basin bidding round in North America, Europe and Asia.
The bidding round will close in March 2007.

Source: Dow Jones Newswires
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