New approach to allocating petroleum exploration rights

Issue 33 – November 2011

A new approach to allocating petroleum exploration rights has been developed that will assist in giving effect to the Petroleum Action Plan. The objective of the Government's Petroleum Action Plan is to maximise the return to New Zealand from its petroleum resources.

The new approach will exclusively use the competitive Block Offer method for the allocation of petroleum exploration rights. This is in contrast to the current approach which primarily uses the first-in, first-served 'priority in time' method. A proposed change to the Crown Minerals Act 1991 will result in the priority in time method no longer being available in New Zealand.

The new approach allows for more proactive and strategic management of the resource estate with all stakeholders, whereas the current approach is primarily reactive. Successfully launching the new approach will reposition the New Zealand oil and gas sector to the international market and should attract significant additional investment to New Zealand, while providing the Government with more control over where, when, and to whom exploration rights are granted.

Read the full media release (

Summarised from the Ministry of Economic Development's New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals media release, 30 August 2011.

Published in energy.