PEPANZ makes election pitch

NEW ZEALAND’s oil and gas lobby has launched its election year policy platform, outlining 18 wish list items including review of fiscal settings, investment in geoscience and a dedicated royalty fund.
PEPANZ makes election pitch PEPANZ makes election pitch PEPANZ makes election pitch PEPANZ makes election pitch PEPANZ makes election pitch

Haydn Black


Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand CEO Cameron Madgwick said that despite the fact NZ's regulatory environment was "in good shape" the government needed to ensure the nation remained capable of attracting investment.
"The upstream oil and gas sector plays an incredibly important role in New Zealand's economy - generating over 11,000 jobs nationally, contributing over $NZ2.5 billion ($A2.3 billion) to NZ's Gross Domestic Product, and delivering the government around $500 million in royalties and taxes every year," Madgwick said.
However, NZ production and exploration are falling, a situation not helped by the nation's frontier status and a shyness for exploration among oilers.
Madgwick said a review of fiscal settings could help NZ attract investment in a market where exploration is at its lower level since the 1940s.
"Companies are being extremely cautious about where they invest their capital," Madgwick said.
"NZ is competing with other locations for mobile investment capital. 
"Therefore, it is important that we have our settings right to be attractive as an investment destination given some of the country's logistical challenges - such as the small size of our domestic market and the cost of mobilising equipment to this part of the world."
He said a dedicated royalty fund, rather than putting the proceeds of production into consolidated revenue, would allow greater visibility of the contribution the Taranaki Basin oil and gas fields made to the nation's finances. 
"We believe that as oil and gas resources are a non-renewable public resource owned by all New Zealanders, government revenue earned from their extraction should be set aside in a dedicated fund for the long-term benefit of all New Zealanders," he said.
"While ultimately a decision for the government, possible uses of the fund could include investment in regional infrastructure, education or health."
He said investment back into early-stage geoscience would help increase the understanding of NZ's 18 underexplored basins and would help encourage further exploration and investment by petroleum companies.
"Previous investments in early stage data acquisition, such as in the Pegasus Basin, have directly led to petroleum companies making substantially larger financial commitments to explore these areas and increased the potential of future royalty payments if these exploration efforts are successful," he said.
While there have been hydrocarbon shows from scant drilling in areas like the Canterbury and Great South basin, exploration has been fairly limited.
Madgwick also wants to see an improvement of NZ's Emissions Trading Scheme to ensure agricultural emissions, which account for half of the nation's greenhouse gas production, are included.  
The NZ general election is scheduled for September 23 and is expected to see the National Party, now led by Bill English, to retain leadership.