Decreasing gas reserves data highlights need to reverse oil and gas exploration ban

MBIE’s annual Petroleum Reserves report detailing a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural gas reserves shows the need to reverse the oil and gas exploration ban, Energy Minister Simeon Brown says.

“Figures released by MBIE show that there has been a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural gas proven plus probable reserves over the past 12 months, dropping to 1,300 petajoules,” Mr Brown says.

“While 44 per cent of this reduction has been due to gas extraction and use, 30 per cent is due to reserves being downgraded and 26 per cent due to reserves being removed altogether as operators now understand the relevant fields hold less gas than previously thought.

“This report makes for very concerning reading. New Zealand’s exporters and manufacturers need more natural gas to power their businesses and produce value-added goods to drive economic growth, but natural gas production cannot currently meet demand.

“New Zealand’s insufficient supply of gas to meet demand is stifling economic growth and reducing our energy security. Natural gas plays a critical role in firming our electricity generation, particularly when intermittent renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are not generating.

MBIE’s report states that New Zealand’s gas reserves represent only 8.7 years of use, and that deliverability of gas from current fields will continue to decline.

“Reduced gas availability means that firms will look to other sources of energy, such as coal, to meet demand. Coal has around twice the carbon intensity of natural gas for the same amount of energy. We are already seeing more coal being used to firm New Zealand’s largely renewable electricity sector simply because the required natural gas has not been made available.”

The previous government’s legacy is one of reduced economic output and an increased reliance upon high emissions coal to meet our energy needs.

The Coalition Government is working hard to ensure New Zealand’s energy security by:

  • Reversing the ban on oil and gas exploration
    This important piece of work to secure our energy security is being led by Resources Minister Shane Jones, and is a commitment under both the NZ First and ACT coalition agreements with National.
  • Enabling Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS)
    CCUS is used overseas to significantly reduce the emissions from gas use. The Government has begun consultation on an enabling regime for the technology in New Zealand. 
  • Taking immediate action with the Gas Security Response Group
    The GSRG It brings together gas producers, major gas users and the Government to focus on gas supply and demand issues, in both the short and longer term. It is considering ways in which we can ensure natural gas gets to those that need it most, including schools, tertiary institutions, and hospitals as part of the All-of-Government contract.

“The Coalition Government is committed to ensuring New Zealand’s energy security. We are working at pace to reverse the policies that have got us into this position and to restore investment confidence to the energy sector.