There is news of more oil and gas exploration off the Taranaki coast with a proposal to drill 12 offshore wells during the next six years by Austrian-based OMV New Zealand.
The company has applied for a marine consent to discharge waste from the wells in a drilling programme planned for between 2019 and 2025.
Fairfax Media said a marine discharge consent application was publicly notified by the Environmental Protection Authority on May 25. Public submissions close on June 5.
The Taranaki Daily News said the consent will allow OMV to discharge trace amounts of substances from the deck drains of a drilling platform. An impact assessment reportedly showed there would be negligible effects to human and marine life from the discharges.
OMV has been actively involved in searching for and producing hydrocarbons in New Zealand since 1999.
Fairfax said it was now the country's largest liquid hydrocarbon producer, and third largest natural gas producer with shareholdings in the Maari-Manaia field (69%) and Maui (10%) fields, and the Pohukura (26%) gas field and production station.
The programme included drilling nine exploration wells, and three appraisal wells up between 102 metres and 158m deep in the company's six permit areas in the Taranaki Basin.
Under petroleum exploration permit regulations OMV had to drill one well in each permit area, or surrender the rights. Because the permits were already allocated the drilling programme is not affected by the Government's recent announcement to stop all offshore drilling permits after 2030.
Apart from the application for discharging potentially harmful substances from deck drains of the drilling rig, separate marine consent applications are required for any risks associated with operating the rig, drilling in the exclusive economic zone, and emergency oil spill response plans.
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