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New Zealand: A High-potential Energy Frontier

Kapuni is the oldest producing gas and condensate field in New Zealand, and when it went into production in 1969, it heralded a new era for New Zealand's energy supply with its indigenous supply of gas. Its infrastructural development paved the way for future oil and gas discoveries.

A number of more recent finds have also come on stream, including Pohokura (opened 2006), Tui (2007), Maari (2009) and Kupe (2010), the Venture Taranaki Trust report states.

Business advantages

New Zealand offers a safe and secure environment in which to do business. The World Bank ranked New Zealand the third-easiest nation in which to do business, and the country offers investors a number of advantages, including safety, a stable economy, a supportive political environment and a skilled workforce.

Its permitting regime and fiscal terms are ranked among the best in the world, while oil produced in New Zealand is sold at premium prices. New Zealand also has significant petroleum potential, underexplored basins, straightforward permitting and freely available seismic and interpretive data.

The national government is democratically elected and has proven committed to ensuring that the region is a highly attractive destination for oil and gas investment. It has made a number of policy changes that have underlined this commitment — including strengthening support and communications to raise the profile of the petroleum sector — and has undertaken a review of the legislative framework surrounding regulations, royalties and taxation in order to ensure that it is business friendly and equitable.

Exploration and production

Most exploration attention has been focused around the Taranaki Basin, which has attracted some of the world's most prominent explorers. Many experts believe that with fewer than 200 wells drilled since 1955, this basin is still in its infancy.

The area's East Coast Basin exhibits dramatic oil and gas seeps, and data has revealed numerous high-impact, multi-zone conventional targets, according to TAG Oil's (TSX:TAO) website, which also notes that the basin's "oil-rich tight source-rock formations are a widespread exploration target with major unconventional oil and gas potential." On the same note, New Zealand Energy's (TSXV:NZ,OTCQX:NZERF) website states that "[w]ith 300 known oil or natural gas seeps, the region has intrigued explorers for more than a century."

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