Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

PM announces new ban on future oil, gas exploration

PM announces new ban on future oil, gas exploration

"New Zealand has taken an historic step and delivered a massive breakthrough for the climate, spurred on by the tens of thousands of people who have fought for years to protect our coasts from new oil and gas exploration", said Greenpeace New Zealand Executive Director, Dr Russel Norman.

But some have criticized the move, saying it threatens to undermine the economy.

"There will be no further offshore oil and gas exploration permits granted", Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today.

New Zealand appears to be one of the first countries in the world to move significantly towards a permanent ban on oil exploration.

"Our known gas supplies will run out in 11 years".

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NZOG says the ban on new exploration may mean carbon emissions in New Zealand and globally will be higher for longer.

"New Zealand has stood up to one of the most powerful industries in the world."

"All of which will decline without new activity", he said.

However, according to local media reports, Cairn India pulled the plug after two-years of exploration as oil prices plunged.

"No current jobs will be affected by this, as we are honouring all agreements with current permit holders", she said.

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While some 22 existing offshore oil and gas exploration permits remain in place, with rights to explore and potentially develop any commercial discovery unaffected, the decision signals the endgame for decades of attempts to find major new oil and gas deposits outside the Taranaki Basin, where the offshore Maui, Kupe, Maari, Pohokura, and Tui fields are all producing oil and gas today.

She said there would also be limited new on-shore permits around the North Island's Taranaki region, where most of New Zealand industry is concentrated.

Oil and gas companies are now issued rights to explore "blocks" of the sea each year, covering a total of 100,000 square kilometres. "We are providing certainty for communities and industry. with a managed transition" away from the production of fossil fuels. 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. It certainly has nothing to do with climate change", said Young.

"This is a huge step forward for New Zealand and a landmark moment in the transition to a clean-energy economy", WWF New Zealand chief Livia Esterhazy said.

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"Forest & Bird now wants to see this temporary breathing space be made permanent by changing the Crown Minerals Act, and having the block offer process dismantled entirely", Mr Hague said.

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