New Zealand Oil & Gas has entered into a conditional agreement to explore for petroleum offshore Taranaki.
If the exploration goes ahead the listed energy company will acquire 6.667% of the permit and will partner with the major holder and operator Anadarko and Hyundai Hysco.
Anadarko and Hyundai have preferential rights to the assignment, and the agreement is also conditional on New Zealand ministerial consent and regulatory approval.
The permit covers nearly 16.5 square kilometres and includes multiple prospects and leads, although the field is unproven.
Oil & Gas chief executive Andrew Knight says the company will put $9.5 million towards the exploration.
If it does go ahead, he said it will about 18 months before exploration gets underway.