New Zealand is dependent on oil and gas for producing electricity and industrial use.
The Oil and Gas sector in New Zealand
The New Zealand Oil and Gas sector is currently expanding with new exploration and
production taking place in particular in the Taranaki, Canterbury and Great basins. Opportunities
exist in the support services, exploration and investment in the industry as it grows.
New Zealand has a large supply of natural resources in particular oil and gas. New Zealand is
known for the Maui and Tui fields with one of the first oil wells in the Commonwealth being
drilled in 1865 near New Plymouth. The country is dependent on oil and gas for producing
electricity and industrial use. An estimated 40-60% of gas is used for electricity generation. Most
of the oil that is produced from the New Plymouth fields is refined at Marsden Point.
Refining NZ has a specialist oil refining plant located at Marsden Point near Whangarei. The
company supplies all of New Zealand’s jet fuel, 80% of diesel, 50% of petrol and 85% of
bitumen for roads. The plant was established in the 1980’s with most of the oil used being
imported from markets overseas. The company is currently in plans for a NZ$365 million
expansion of its petrol making facilities at the Marsden Point plant.
The Oil and Gas industry contributed $2.8 billion in 2009 to the New Zealand export industry
making it the third biggest export industry in New Zealand.
A recent 2011 study by GNZ Science has found that there is over 1.7 million square kilometres
of potential oil located in New Zealand with this estimated to be over 700 million barrels located
in offshore areas of New Zealand.
New Zealand is gaining more international attention through the focus on exploration by
companies such as Exxon Mobil, Petrobras, OMV, Mitsui and Shell. Petrobras has recently
invested $118 million into a five year exploration project off the East Cape of New Zealand.
Shell and OMV have begun exploration of the South basin of the Canterbury coast starting in
December 2011 at a cost of over NZ$50 million.
New Zealand Oil and Gas is a major New Zealand operator in the oil and gas industry. The
company is an independent exploration and production company that owns the Tui and Kupe
fields as well as assets in Indonesia and Tunisia. New Zealand Oil and Gas has recently
increased initial proved and probable reserves at the Kupe gas and oil field by 13.4% to 489
petrajoules of gas equivalent. Utilico Investments is building its stake in New Zealand Oil and
Gas with a now 6.5% stake in the company. Utilico Investments believes that the New Zealand
oil and gas companies and opportunities are undervalued in the market. This could provide
opportunities for UK companies to invest in the New Zealand oil and gas industry.
In July 2012, New Zealand Energy gained continuous production on the Cooper Moki-3 natural
gas well. It is a 100% owned Eltham permit in the Taranaki Basin. During the period ended
March 31, 2012 the company produced 39,852 barrels. This shows that there are further
opportunities for exploration in the New Zealand oil and gas sector.
The Oil and Gas sector in New Zealand is set for continued growth. The Government’s Crown
Minerals management of oil and gas reserves in New Zealand allows for continual growth in this
sector. The New Zealand Government has invested $25 million over three years for continued
seismic exploration. Opportunities exist for companies in the UK where experience can add
value in the exploration, seismic surveying, drilling, and engineering expertise to the oil and gas
fields in New Zealand.
The Taranaki Basin has always been the main focus for hydrocarbon exploration and production
in New Zealand. The 'giant' Maui gas-condensate field is located in the Taranaki basin with more
recent discoveries being made offshore; Tui, Maari, Kupe and Pohokura fields. Oil and gas is
currently produced from 21 petroleum mining licences/permits fields, all in the Taranaki Basin.
New Zealand's estimated remaining producing field reserves, as at 1 January 2008 were 148
million barrels of oil (mmbbls) for producing fields and 69 mmbbls for non producing fields.
This shows that there are still significant oil and gas reserves that have yet to be productive
Gas exploration has also occurred in the Raukumara Basin, Canterbury and Great Basins. These
basins exhibit oil seeps and exploration data has revealed many structures with hydrocarbon
potential. An onshore gas discovery was made in the East Coast Basin in 1998, while sub-
commercial discoveries have also been made in the offshore Canterbury and Great South basins.
The Raukumara Basin, East Cape of New Zealand is currently being surveyed by Petrobras with
the New Zealand Government assisting the company with their $118 million project.
The releases of the planned block by Crown Minerals are supported by significant Crown-funded
data packs and are open for assessment. The response to date has shown there is strong interest in
exploration in New Zealand. The announcement continued the momentum to realise gas reserves
for the domestic market and to discover potentially large oil and gas reserves in New Zealand's
deep water basins.
The New Zealand Government has recently assisted Petrobras in its permit to explore the
Raukumara Basin. Petrobras is expected to spend $118 million over five years on the project,
with the Government giving them significant assistance to help in the permit process. This shows
that the Government is interested in the exploration of the oil and gas fields of New Zealand, in
particular new or undiscovered areas.
Crown Minerals underwent a review in 2011 with the organisation taking a more focused
approach to business operations. This is set to assist in the industry in the future with the
government’s outline of developing New Zealand’s natural resources to benefit NZ through GDP
and revenue growth for the nation. Utilico Investments have recently outlined that the New
Zealand oil and gas industry is undervalued with opportunities to be had in mergers and
acquisitions to increase the value of the market.
Latest export opportunities in the Oil and Gas sector
Latest export opportunities in New Zealand
Getting into the market
The main opportunities for UK companies in the sector exist in support services, exploration and
investment in the New Zealand oil and gas sector. It is clear that the industry is continuing to
grow with further exploration into new opportunities taking place in particular in the Taranaki
basin and off the coast of Christchurch. This shows that there are opportunities for UK
companies to support the industry through support services, exploration expertise and investment
into the companies operating in the sector with it being seen by some as an undervalued sector.
An Overseas Market Introduction Service report into the New Zealand Oil and Gas sector can
further identify opportunities in the market and assist your business to take advantage of them.
More about doing business in New Zealand
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke
market research and support during overseas visits through our chargeable Overseas Market
Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists
in country - or contact your local international trade team.
Paul Tuckley, British Consulate-General Auckland. Tel: +64 (0) 9 303 5017 or email:
Hamish Jenkin, British Consulate-General Auckland. Tel: +64 (0) 9 303 5014 or email:
Contact your local international trade team
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to
overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
Latest events in the Oil and Gas sector
Date: 6-7th June 2013
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters