New Zealand Plans Reversal of Offshore Oil Exploration Ban

The New Zealand government is set to reverse the ban on offshore petroleum exploration to address energy security challenges. The Minerals Amendment Bill aims to boost economic contributions from the petroleum and mineral sectors. The reforms include changing the allocation process for exploration permits to encourage investment. Minister Shane Jones emphasized the importance of supporting the resources sector with the right policy settings.
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The New Zealand government is making moves to reverse a ban on offshore petroleum exploration as part of proposed amendments to the country’s Minerals Act. Resources Minister Shane Jones stated that the ban reversal is aimed at addressing energy security challenges caused by declining natural gas reserves. The ban on new offshore oil exploration permits was put in place in 2018 during the Labor Coalition government, with the opposition National Party criticizing it as economic vandalism.

The Minerals Amendment Bill, set to be introduced to Parliament later this year, is the latest legislative reform by the government to revamp the energy sector. Additionally, the government recently introduced the Fast-track Approvals Bill to encourage renewable energy investments by streamlining the approval process for energy projects. Minister Shane Jones emphasized the importance of providing the right policy settings to support the petroleum and resources sector.

The New Zealand government estimates that the petroleum and mineral sectors contributed significantly to the GDP and government revenue in recent years. The proposed changes in the minerals bill include altering the allocation process for petroleum exploration permits, offering the choice between a competitive tender process and a non-tender method. These reforms aim to boost economic contributions and address energy challenges in the country.

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