Oil and gas industry in New Zealand

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Storage tanks in Manukau

The oil and gas industry in New Zealand explores and develops oil and gas fields, and produces petroleum products and natural gas.

In 2015, New Zealand's self-sufficiency in oil (mmbls production divided by consumption) was 30%, i.e. the country imports over two thirds its petroleum product needs (though actual imports are higher, as some of the local product is also exported).[1] In 2015, 97 petajoules of crude were produced in New Zealand, 242 PJ of petroleum products imported (most of it crude), and 261 PJ consumed. The difference is exported or used for international travel (aviation fuel and similar).[1]

Oil and gas are produced from 21 petroleum licenses / permits, all in the Taranaki basin.[2] The most important fields are Kapuni, Maui, Pohokura and Kupe. Exploration for oil and gas reserves includes the Great South Basin and offshore areas near Canterbury and Gisborne.

New Zealand has one oil refinery, the Marsden Point Oil Refinery. The major industry body is the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand.

There are 2,600 kilometres of high-pressure natural gas transmission pipelines in the North Island.[3] Most of these are owned and operated by First Gas, including the Maui pipeline, a 307 km pipeline that carries 78% of all natural gas produced in New Zealand.[4] The low-pressure gas pipelines that distribute gas to end users are owned by First Gas (Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Kapiti Coast), Vector (Auckland), Powerco (Hawke's Bay, Taranaki, Manawatu, Wellington) and GasNet (Wanganui).

The largest retailers of gas are Contact Energy and Vector.[5] There is no natural gas transmission in the South Island.[6] New Zealand has one underground gas storage facility, the Ahuroa Gas Storage Facility.


In 1865, the Alpha well was drilled near Mikotahi at New Plymouth.[7] This was the first oil well in what is now the Commonwealth and one of the first in the world. A petroleum industry developed at Moturoa, including producing wells and refineries. The last refinery there was closed in 1972. The field continues to produce small quantities of oil.[8]

The Kapuni gas field in South Taranaki was discovered in 1959 and brought into production in 1970. The North Island natural gas network started operating in 1970, initially supplying Kapuni gas to Auckland, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Palmerston North and Wellington. The off-shore Maui field was discovered in 1969 and brought into production in 1978. This supported the development of many large energy projects, including gas fired power stations at New Plymouth and Huntly, ammonia-urea plant at Kapuni, gas to methanol plant at Waitara and the synthetic petrol plant at Motunui.[9]

Oil and gas fields[edit]

New Zealand gas production by field

Proven and probable (P50) reserves, ultimate and remaining, as at 1 January 2016[1]

Producing fields

Field Ultimate oil recoverable
Remaining oil reserves
Ultimate gas recoverable
Remaining gas reserves
Kapuni 67 1 1,040 36
Kupe 18 8 391 242
Maari 45 15
Mangahewa 12 8 457 317
Maui 225 6 4,309 191
McKee 49 2 235 36
Pohokura 64 26 1,524 875
Tui 42 3
Turangi 14 11 381 315
Others 53 11 410 104
Total 588 91 8,748 2,116

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c "Energy in New Zealand 2016". MBIE. September 2016.
  2. ^ "Petroleum Overview". Crown Minerals, Ministry of Economic Development. 26 June 2008.
  3. ^ Gregg, Roger; Walrond, Carl (13 July 2012). "Oil and gas – The Māui gas field". Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Completion of Vector Gas Ltd Purchase by First State Funds" (Press release). Firstgas. 20 April 2016.
  5. ^ "New Zealand gas industry". Contact Energy. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  6. ^ "Gas distribution". Contact Energy. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  7. ^ Lambert, Ron (1995). In Crude State - a History of the Moturoa Oilfield New Plymouth. Methanex New Zealand. ISBN 0-473-03428-X.
  8. ^ "Moturoa black gold - "the good oil"". Puke Ariki. 19 November 2004. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
  9. ^ "History of New Zealand's gas sector". MBIE. 8 January 2016.


  • Cooke, Peter (2004). Shell in New Zealand. Wellington, NZ: Shell Heritage Society. ISBN 0476005957.

External links[edit]