4 Jan 2010

Oil production in NZ surges

8:18 am on 4 January 2010

Oil production is rising sharply in New Zealand.

Figures from the Ministry of Economic Development show production rose almost 20% in the three months to September, compared with the previous quarter and was 7% higher than the previous year.

The figures precede a summer of oil prospecting described by the Government as the busiest in New Zealand's history.

Energy Federation chairman Rob Whitney says the trend is good for New Zealand's trade figures.

However, the oil industry warns that in some places, the search for oil can cost tens of millions of dollars - yet have only a 20% chance of success.

The statistics also show falling electricity usage and a rising share of renewable energy, which is being welcomed by environmental experts.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's largest public oil exploration company says it is exciting to be part of the largest ever programme of oil exploration this summer.

New Zealand Oil and Gas is drilling four of the seven exploratory wells being sunk in the record-breaking season. The company is drilling off the coast of Taranaki.

NZOG public affairs manager Chris Roberts says each well costs up to $30 million and the chances of finding oil are only about 20%.