Legislation is expected to follow a Government review of health, safety and environmental protections for New Zealand waters.
The review found there are rigorous standards for the country's 12-mile territorial waters, where the Resource Management Act applies, but virtually no regulation of the 200-mile extended economic zone.
It's recommended a new agency be established to implement new standards for drilling companies.
The executive officer of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association, John Pfahlert, says the Government will legislate to plug regulatory gaps.
Mr Pfahlert says the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has focused the Government's mind, as has the Pike River mine disaster, on health and safety considerations.