Government to continue with oil exploration

10:58 am on 21 March 2016

The government is pressing on with the search for oil and gas, undeterred by low oil prices and pressure from environmentalists.

Oil rig

Photo: 123rf

At petroleum industry conference in Auckland this morning the government announced its latest block offer.

Minister of Energy Simon Bridges called for new tenders for petroleum exploration this year that involved slightly over 500,000 square kilometres of territory.

This included areas off the coast of Cape Reinga and Taranaki, off the east coast of the North Island, off the south-east coast of the South Island and on the Taranaki mainland.

Mr Bridges said he was realistic about the prospects for success because of low oil prices but oil exploration was a long-term game and New Zealand had to press on.

The announcement was made despite attempts by environmental protesters to stop people getting into the conference.

About 60 people have been issued with trespass orders and the police have forced an opening through the protesters to allow delegates inside.

One hundred and fifty protesters had been blocking the entrances to the SkyCity convention centre in central Auckland, where the petroleum industry conference was being held.