New Zealand announces oil, natural gas auction

April 30, 2013 at 6:31 AM
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WELLINGTON, New Zealand, April 30 (UPI) -- New Zealand will offer a range of "promising opportunities" in May for investors interested in oil and natural gas exploration, the government said.

New Zealand Energy Minister Simon Bridges announced the government is committed to the safe management of its natural resources through a second round of auctions for oil and gas exploration permits.

"(The acreage) presents a range of promising opportunities for investors and operators, who bring with them knowledge and experience in global exploration and production of oil and gas," he said in a statement.

Bidding opens May 24 for nearly 74,000 square miles offshore and nearly 5,800 square miles onshore. The government describes most of the license areas as underexplored or frontier territory.

"The block offer process is putting us, as a country, on the international stage," Bridges said.

Permits in 2013 will be awarded under new laws that consider health, safety and environmental factors for explorers.

The New Zealand government awarded 10 exploration permits for oil and natural gas during its first auction in December.

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