28 Aug 2013

Taranaki oil and gas industry in expansive mood

10:37 am on 28 August 2013

The oil and gas industry is showcasing its operations in Taranaki as other regions start looking to expand the hunt for petrochemical resources.

More than 640 wells have been drilled in Taranaki - the only producing oil and gas basin in the country - and that number is set to increase rapidly.

Tag Oil is producing 1300 barrels a day of oil from the Cheal production station and 55,000 cubic metres of gas and plans to dig a series of new wells.

The industry is running bus tours to improve, what it calls, transparency by the industry as it expands. This is partly the result of the public's environmental concerns about the industry and the practice of hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

Chief executive of the industry body PEPANZ David Robinson said fracking has been used safely for years and unlocked immense resources.

But in North Taranaki, Tikorangi residents have complained about the constant hum of drilling rigs and heavy traffic destroying their peaceful lifestyle.

Todd Energy operations manager Andrew Clennents said the company has been working hard at its Mangahewa hill top site to reduce generator and drill rig noise.

Taranaki Regional Council, which regulates the companies, points out the industry's high compliance rate.

It said of 1300 inspections in the past 12 months only 11 were found to be breaking the rules or needing further investigation.