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national party good for nz oil and gas sector

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    All good-no more greenie govt.

    Nationals good for oil: Pepanz

    Neil Ritchie, New Zealand
    Monday, 10 November 2008

    THE Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand has welcomed the election of the new National-led government, saying the new administration should be good for the oil and gas industry.

    “We are very pleased, particularly with likely substantial changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme and the removal of the moratorium on new baseload gas fired power stations,” Pepanz executive officer John Pfahlert told from Wellington this morning.

    “We also look forward to National honouring its promise of the government investing more in frontier seismic and associated research,” Pfahlert added, referring to the party’s pledge of contributing $NZ25 million ($A22 million) for further seismic, gravity and magnetic surveying.

    The just-ousted Labour-led government in 2004 established a $NZ15 million ($A13.2 million) seismic program aimed at lifting petroleum exploration levels in New Zealand, though that money is nearly all spent and Labour said no more would be forthcoming.

    Pfahlert also said the signalled streamlining changes to the Resource Management Act – affecting all onshore and offshore exploration and production activities up to 12 nautical miles from the coast – would be good for the oil and gas sector.

    In addition, National’s proposed merger of the existing Environmental Risk Management Authority with the Ministry for the Environment into an Environmental Protection Authority should mean considerable efficiency improvements in environment performance – again benefitting the oil and gas industry, he added.

    Pfahlert said it was excellent news that New Zealand, after nine years of Labour-led coalitions, finally had a major political party that grasped the importance of the petroleum sector.

    He paid tribute to former Associate Energy Minister Harry Duynhoven, who battled bravely on behalf of the oil and gas sector against some opposition from more left-leaning renewable energy colleagues.

    “Being New Plymouth born and bred, Harry knew the benefits that flow to local and national economies from a healthy petroleum sector and the importance of domestic gas to the country’s electricity supply.”

    Last May, gas-fired power stations in Taranaki, Auckland, Waikato and the dual-fired gas and coal Huntly station generated 53.6% of the country’s electricity needs.

    “We welcome the incoming government and look forward to opening dialogue with them on a number of fronts,” Pfahlert concluded.

    Several explorers have told PNN recently that the gas ban and emissions trading scheme were significant hurdles to overcome, particularly when coupled with the global economic downturn and falling oil prices.

    “The reality also is that New Zealand is simply not on the radar screen of many international majors and independents, so anything that the New Zealand government can do to help change this perception, the better,” Origin Energy exploration manager Rob Willink told PNN.

    National energy spokesperson, Gerry Brownlee, has said a National Government will also review the existing Crown Minerals Regime – to examine the appropriate risk-reward arrangements needed to fully develop New Zealand's domestic oil and gas industry.

    The National Party was swept into power on Saturday night, winning 59 of the possible 122 seats that will make up the new New Zealand Government, compared with Labour’s 43 seats.

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