NZ hydrocarbons production surges: report

THE New Zealand Energy Quarterly highlights the strong contribution the offshore Taranaki Tui Area oil field is making to the New Zealand economy.

The Ministry of Economic Development yesterday released the first edition of the new publication, which focused on energy statistics for the December 2007 quarter.

The report said key highlights for the quarter included crude oil production reaching a record high for New Zealand and the Tui field boosting oil exports by almost 400% compared with the December 2006 quarter.

Even with Tui producing for less than half the year, annual production was the fourth-highest on record at the equivalent of 86 petajoules, the report noted.

The Tui field, operated by Australian Worldwide Exploration, has flowed more than 9 million barrels in less than 8 months of production.

This production of valuable light sweet crude contributed to an unexpected narrowing of New Zealand's trade deficit in the latter half of 2007.

The 2007 trade deficit was down from about $NZ6 billion ($A5.2 billion) to about $NZ4.8 billion ($A4.2 billion).

In addition, New Zealand's 2007 gas production rose to 180.8PJ, up almost 10% from 2006, largely due to the near-shore northern Taranaki Pohokura gas-condensate field coming online.

"If production remains around current levels, 2008 is expected to post a new annual record for crude oil and condensate production in New Zealand," the report said.

The next edition is scheduled for release in mid-June and will include information to the end of March.

New Zealand Energy Quarterly is free to download or subscribe to by visiting www.med.govt.nz/energy/nzeq/

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