EEZ Bill needed to give certainty to gas supply

  • Nick Smith

A Bill to amend the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012 will be introduced tomorrow to address transitional issues over the timing of existing consents, such as for the Maui platform.

“The EEZ law requires new marine consents for existing activities by the date their current mining permit expires. The Maui platform requires this consent by 28 June 2015. An application has been lodged by Shell Todd Oil Services Limited (STOS) for a marine consent with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), but if it is appealed it will not be resolved by that date,” Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

“The Maui field provides 40 per cent of New Zealand’s gas and we cannot have any uncertainty over its operation. The situation has arisen because the law did not specify that activity could be continued if appeals were lodged, and because STOS did not apply early enough to allow for this time for potential appeals.

“This Bill will simply allow existing use, like the Maui platform, to continue until all appeals on a marine consent application are resolved. The Bill will be introduced tomorrow, have its first reading next week and will be referred to a select committee. The Government is committed to passing the Bill prior to 28 June 2015 to remove any uncertainty on the capacity for STOS to operate the Maui platform.”