1 May 2013

Oil and gas prospectors told to look to Taranaki

7:00 am on 1 May 2013

Taranaki's development agency is encouraging oil and gas prospectors to bid for new block offers in the region, saying it makes sense, given all the infrastructure is in place.

The oil and gas industry employs more than 5500 people in Taranaki and contributes millions of dollars to the province's economy each year.

Venture Taranaki chief executive Stuart Trundle said the Taranaki Basin has had a track record for being commercially successful since the late 1800s.

He said supply chains are well established, and councils are accustomed to dealing with the companies in a regulatory sense and perhaps even more importantly it has a community that is used to working in partnership with the industry.

As a result, Mr Trundle said Taranaki has one of the fastest growing economies in New Zealand.

He said oil and gas companies are confident the basin still has reserves, with Todd Energy, Shell and Anadarko starting to drill on and offshore next summer.

And Mr Trundle said the Canadian company, Methex is spending serious money to produce methanol.

"What is encouraging is that they are recommissioning plants that had been mothballed through lack of gas and are spending hundreds of millions of dollars upgrading those plants to meet world class standards of methanol production."

Mr Trundle said it means hundreds of jobs and that methanol is a highly valued commodity which will enhance New Zealand's export performance, once that production is exported through Port Taranaki to world markets.