NZ Government postpones block offers

The New Zealand government has postponed the announcement of this year’s block offers for oil and gas exploration permits at the New Zealand Petroleum Conference.

According to Radio New Zealand (RNZ), Energy Minister Megan Woods said that the government was committed to a long-term transition towards renewable energy, with plans to be carbon neutral by 2050 by reaching 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035.

Last week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern accepted a petition protesting oil exploration with 45,000 signatures and, with more than 200 protestors at the conference, confirmed yesterday that the block offer announcement would be postponed.

Minister Woods said that the block offer announcement – a program that invites bids for new onshore and offshore exploration – should be made in the next few weeks.

Conference organiser Petroleum Exploration and Production New Zealand Chief Executive Cameron Madgwick talked to RNZ in the lead up to the event and said the industry was hoping for clarification regarding the government’s position on block offers.

At the conference, Mr Madgwick said that although the industry has not been consulted over the upcoming decision, it’s a long-term process and is still expected.

“Our members, and the industry, are very keen to understand the role, specifically, that we will have in any transition to a net zero emissions economy,” he said.

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