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NZ's O&G Track Record

New Zealand's O&G Track Record

New Zealand has a proven record of O&G successes that make an important contribution to its national economy. Discoveries can be traced pre-1865, when early settlers began complaining that the oily scum on Ngamotu beach, New Plymouth, required them to wipe their boots and lift their dresses when they walked along the sand. Oil was literally flowing off the beach. The Alpha well in Taranaki is considered the first oil well in the Commonwealth and one of the first in the world.

Read more about the history of New Zealand and Taranaki's history in the oil and gas industry here

However it was the discoveries of Kapuni (1959) and Maui (1969) and arrival of players such as Shell that propelled the nation in the modern era of petroleum. When Maui was discovered, it was one of the six largest gas field in the western world.

Below: View from the Maui A Platform with Mount Taranaki in the background

Kapuni, located onshore, is the oldest producing gas and condensate field in New Zealand. When the field went into production in 1969, it launched a new era for New Zealand's energy supply with its indigneous supply of gas. Its infrastructural development paved the way for future O&G discoveries such as Maui. 

In recent years, there have been other significant gas and oil fields that have come on-stream. These include: Pohokura (opened 2006), Tui (2007) Maari (2009) and Kupe (2010).

Today New Zealand has a series of established, commercial fields. There is a development O&G infrastructure, experienced support industry, and a proactive globally-competitive O&G regime.

On an international basis, New Zealand is attracting interest as a frontier location with significant petroleum potential. There is industry participation from national and international investors.

There are underexplored basins, the possibility of significant unrealised reserves and readily available, free seismic information. Exploration includes both conventional and unconventional O&G.



New Zealand offers a range of petroleum basins that are activity promoted to investors. Click to view basin map

A straight forward permitting process is established that is administered by New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals.

The Taranaki Basin, is New Zealand's premier oil and gas exploration region, and is currently the only producing basin in New Zealand.

However, the Great South basin, Canterbury, Reinga/Northland, East Coast and the deep water possibilities of New Zealand’s petroleum acreage, have attracted significant interest as emerging basins of petroleum potential. 

Taranaki’s producing fields include:

Off shore:

  • Maui (gas-condensate & oil)
  • Tui (oil)
  • Pohokura (gas condensate)
  • Maari-Manaia (oil)
  • Kupe (Gas condensate)


  • Kapuni (gas-condensate)
  • McKee (oil and gas)
  • Tariki-Ahuroa (gas condensate)
  • Waihapa-Ngaera (oil and gas)
  • Ngatoro (oil and gas)
  • Kaimiro (oil and gas)
  • Mangahahewa (gas condensate)
  • Rimu-Kaui (oil and gas)
  • Cheal (oil)
  • Turangi (gas)
  • Sidewinder

 Click to download more detailed information relating to discoveries and developments in New Zealand.


NZ’s annual O&G production levels:

  • Oil – 21 mmbbls per annun
  • Gas – 158 Bcf per annum

Click for more detailed statistics on field production levels


Estimated reserves:

Oil: Known: 180 mmbbls               Potential: 527  - 11,161 mmbls

Gas: Known: 4600 Bcf                   Potential: 11,310- 67,785 Bcf

(Source: NZ Petroleum & Minerals)

Useful documents concerning NZ's O&G reserves:

Study of undiscovered oil, by GNS: View report

Michael Adams Report (2009) for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Other reports here



Development of the Taranaki/NZ fields has required installation of physical infrastructure including production wells and control equipment, surface gathering systems, and production station(s) for separating the produced fluids.

Specialist facilities include the Kapuni Gas Treatment Plant (KGTP), Oaonui Production Station, Pohokura and the McKee Production Station.  In addition to the production stations and gas treatment plants there are large gas-fired power stations at nearby Stratford, and Whareroa. The Maui pipeline, owned by the Maui Development Companies, provides a strong link between the Maui field and a major hub at Rotowara (Waikato), while Vector owns and operates a gas transmission pipeline network which carries gas to major load centres around the North Island. 


Users of gas are generally split between electricity generation, the petrochemical industry (methanol and urea) and direct reticulated users (households and business consumers). The two main feedstock users of gas are Methanex and Ballance, who produce methanol and fertiliser respectively.  The majority of Methanex’s production is exported, while for Ballance fertiliser is mainly supplied to the domestic market.

Only a very small proportion of oil produced is refined locally, whereas all gas is consumed or processed domestically.

Storage and dispatch facilities for crude oil operate at located at or near Port Taranaki, while most other ports provide storage for processed oil products.  The New Zealand Refining Company owns and operates New Zealand’s only oil refinery, at Marsden Point, which converts imported crude oil into marketable products such as diesel, petrol, bitumen and by-products. 


Capability and supply chain

Supporting Taranaki and New Zealand’s O&G industry is an experienced industry that initially worked alongside the global companies in the early exploration and development days, but have grown off the back of this work, evolving sophisticated skills and systems, to now become globally competitive companies in their own right, servicing the New Zealand industry and international market.

The evolution of this expertise spans the O&G industry needs including consultancy to underpin entry strategies, assistance with land access, provision of professional services, collection and analysis of seismic collection, district planning, environmental advice, assistance with health & safety, engineering, design, electrical and mechanical work and transportation. Consortiums have evolved between companies for added leverage and customer servicing. Niche specialties have also emerged.


View detailed information on the O&G Company and Capability database