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Twenty-five blocks have been selected by New Zealand in a bidding round that covers onshore and offshore for both North Island and South Island, including coal-seam gas acreage.
For the first time, New Zealand will be opening new offshore and onshore areas in multiple basins to attract broader participation.
New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals announced the annual block offers for competitive bidding Feb. 1, 2012. In addition, the "first-in, first-served" priority-in-time method of permitting was removed. Exclusive use of the block-offer approach brings into effect the government's block-offer strategy that was announced in August 2011.
The 2012 offer includes 25 onshore and offshore blocks with the tender due to open in April. The proposed blocks cover approximately 40,285 sq km (15,554 sq miles) of offshore seabed in the East Coast, Canterbury, Great South, Pegasus, and Taranaki basins, and approximately 5,704 sq km (2,202 sq miles) of land in Waikato, Taranaki, Tasman, the West Coast, and Southland.
The block offer also includes new offshore areas in the Pegasus basin, two prospective blocks on the east coast of North Island, as well as coal seam gas blocks.
At press time, the invitation for bids was scheduled to begin April 27. The bid round will close Sept. 21. The bid evaluation period is from Sept. 22 to Dec. 20, with the public announcement of the awards on Dec. 21.
Each bid will be assessed based on corporate profile, financial capability, technical capability, and quality of work program. Companies can bid on more than one block. If there is a group of bidders for a particular block, the companies will be evaluated individually and as a group.
The ministry is consulting with local iwi (New Zealand's indigenous tribes) and local government in the areas where the proposed blocks are located. This consultation will inform final decisions on the blocks for 2012.
New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals plans to offer approximately 30 blocks each year going forward. For more information, visit nzpam.govt.nz.