June 22, 2024
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New Zealand Plans to Lift Ban on Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration

In an effort to boost energy security challenges from rapidly declining natural gas reserves, the government of New Zealand is going ahead with plans to lift a ban on offshore oil and gas exploration.

Resources Minister Shane Jones in a statement on Sunday, said that natural gas is “critical” for the economy during periods of peak electricity demand and when generation dips from more intermittent sources such as wind, solar and hydropower.

Following last October’s election, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon’s administration had pledged to continue with offshore oil and gas prospecting. Officials are also trying to speed up the construction of renewable plants.

According to the statement, the end of the moratorium will be proposed in Crown Minerals Act amendments to be introduced in parliament in the second half of 2024. Green Party co-leader Chlöe Swarbrick criticized the move, saying lifting the ban is a “severe” backward step amid a “climate crisis.”

Under the then leader Jacinda Ardern administration, New Zealand stopped offshore oil and gas exploration permits in 2018, but continued to allow onshore projects.

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