Block Offer exploration permit tender process

The New Zealand Government allocates petroleum exploration permits by inviting applicants to tender, in a process called a ‘Block Offer’.

This enables efficient allocation of exploration acreage, incorporating the views of industry and stakeholders.

Legislation was passed in November 2018, amending the Crown Minerals Act 1991 (CMA), to restrict the acreage available for any new petroleum permits to the onshore Taranaki region

Before the Block Offer tender for petroleum exploration permits, NZP&M consult with iwi and hapū on proposed release areas. This can result in areas being removed from the offer or certain activities being subject to additional requirements. Release areas are then finalised and interested parties are invited to bid for exploration permits within those areas.

The process

New Zealand has run Block Offers since 2012. We select the release areas for Block Offers based on their prospectivity and commercial interest based on industry nominations. From 2013, companies have been able to bid for their own block outlines based on a graticular system within each release area.

Information gathered during consultation guides the Minister’s decision on the final make-up of the Block Offer. This helps to ensure we identify sites of cultural, historical or environmental interest. A report and recommendations are then provided to the Minister of Resources.

Release area bids

The release areas are announced when Block Offer bidding opens.

Once bidding closes we assess the bids based on their proposed work programmes, and criteria including the applicant’s technical and financial capability, and likely capability to meet expected health, safety, and environmental requirements in accordance with the Invitation for Bids document.

Previous Block Offers

Past petroleum exploration permits granted in New Zealand through Block Offer and other allocation systems.