Block Offer 2018 Release of Information

Hon Dr Megan Woods Energy and Resources

On 12 April 2018, the Rt Hon Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that there will be no further offshore petroleum exploration permits granted. On the same day, Minister Woods announced the start of consultation with iwi and hapū on the proposed Block Offer 2018 release area for petroleum exploration permits.

As you know, this decision was about taking political leadership to act on climate change and its flow on impacts. The decision was a political decision, looking out 30 years and taking steps towards 2050 being emission neutral. This is a signal about the future, while current exploration and production permits continue. We are working with communities affected on how we get there.

Today we are releasing advice and communications relating to Block Offer 2018 and the decision to stop offering future offshore petroleum exploration permits.

As you can see, the Cabinet decision was the culmination of exhaustive consultation between the Coalition partners and senior Ministers which started in December 2017 immediately after the announcement of that year’s block offer. Despite the fact it was an oral item, there was more discussion than most items with written papers.

The release is comprised of three parts:

Written advice prepared by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) for the Minister of Energy and Resources, relating to Block Offer 2018 and the decision to end new offshore petroleum exploration. Thirteen documents were identified as within scope, the titles and dates of which are set out in the table below. This includes the 9 April Cabinet minute on the oral item on the 2018 Block Offer, noting the Minister’s proposals.

Correspondence and communications relating to the above-mentioned topics between the Minister’s office and other Ministers’ offices.

Correspondence and communications relating to the above-mentioned topics between MBIE officials at a senior leadership level and the Minister’s office.

This information covers the advice and communications related to the preparation of the decision announced on 12 April 2018. The advice and communications published cover the timeframe between 19 February 2018 and 12 April 2018. 19 February was the date I first asked MBIE for written advice on options for future Block Offers and/or petroleum allocation. 12 April was the date the Government’s new policies were announced.

The following thirteen documents are being released.


Petroleum allocation scenarios, 27 Feb 2018

Impacts of block offer options on jobs and industry, 8 Mar 2018

Overview of NZ oil and gas sector, 14 Mar 2018

Block Offer 2018 - Proposed blocks for consensus, 15 Mar 2018

Block Offer 2018 - Proposed blocks for consensus (updated), 16 Mar 2018

Background information on Block Offer, 20 Mar 2018

Methanol applications, 6 Apr 2018

Request for information on gas permits and renewable consents, 9 Apr 2018

Additional Item: Block Offer 2018, 9 Apr 2018

Existing rights of petroleum permit holders, 10 Apr 2018

Ban on future offshore petroleum exploration: Impact on Methanex, 10 Apr 2018

Background to Block offer process, 10 Apr 2018

New Zealand Oil and Gas Sector: Key Facts, 10 Apr 2018

Some information within the documents, and correspondence and communications, has been withheld under the following sections of the Official Information Act 1982:

9(2)(a)             to protect the privacy of natural persons, including that of deceased natural persons

9(2)(b)(ii)         to protect information where the making available of the information would likely unreasonably to prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied or who is the subject of the information

9(2)(f)(iv)         to maintain the constitutional conventions for the time being which protect the confidentiality of advice tendered by Ministers of the Crown and officials

9(2)(g)(i)          to maintain the effective conduct of public affairs through the free and frank expression of opinions by or between or to Ministers of the Crown or members of an organisation or officers and employees of any department or organisation in the course of their duty

9(2)(h)             to maintain legal professional privilege. In addition, a number of emails relating to draft communication materials and the drafting of answers to parliamentary questions have been withheld in full under sections 9(2)(f)(iv) and 9(2)(g)(i).