Government management of the petroleum industry
Six government agencies and 16 regional councils carry out specific roles and responsibilities in managing petroleum and mineral exploration and production in New Zealand waters.
- WorkSafe New Zealand
We are responsible for the rules that ensure that the oil ‘stays in the pipe’ and the risk of a well failure is as low as reasonably practical. It does this by accepting an operator’s safety case and reviewing well operations’ notifications which ensures that a well is managed through its life cycle in relation to its design, construction, operation, maintenance, modification, suspension and abandonment.
- New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals (NZP&M)
NZP&M manage the Government’s oil, gas, mineral and coal resources in accordance with the Crown Minerals Act 1991. They process and monitor prospecting, exploration and mining permits. Before granting permits they assess an operator’s technical and financial capability, compliance history and undertake a preliminary, high level assessment of an operator’s capability and systems that are likely to be required to meet applicable health, safety and environmental legislation.
- Maritime New Zealand (MNZ)
Martime New Zealand (MNZ) is responsible for ensuring operators have plans in place to manage the waste from their work as well as emergency response plans if that work causes a leak or spill into the sea. For oil and gas work the emergency response plan needs to include how the operator would stem the flow of oil in the unlikely event of a well blowout. MNZ is also responsible for maintaining New Zealand’s oil spill response capability and preparedness, and for coordinating any major, national-level oil spill responses.
- Ministry for the Environment (MfE)
The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) is responsible for developing environmental policy and administering the legislation and regulations applying to EEZ and territorial waters. This includes the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012 (EEZ Act) and the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).
- Environmental Protection Authority (EPA)
EPA is responsible for managing the effects of specified restricted activities on the environment in the EEZ and CS under the EEZ Act. The EPA considers applications for marine consents, monitors compliance, carries out enforcement, and promotes public awareness of the requirements of the EEZ Act and associated regulations.
- Regional Councils
Regional councils are responsible under the RMA Resource Management Act (RMA) for managing the effects of activities on the environment in territorial waters (0 to 12 nautical miles offshore). Resource consents are usually required under the RMA for petroleum and mineral activities. Some applications may be referred to the Environment Court or to Boards of Inquiry for an assessment and decision.
- Department of Conservation (DOC)
The Department of Conservation (DOC) is responsible for protected species under the Wildlife Act 1953 and Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978. It prepares and administers the guidelines for minimising disturbance to marine mammals from seismic survey, as well as seismic surveying regulations in marine mammal sanctuaries. Independent, qualified visual and acoustic monitoring professionals are required to be on board seismic surveying vessels to ensure that the survey follows the mitigation requirements specified in the Marine Mammal Impact Assessment (MMIA).
For comprehensive information on how the New Zealand Government manages the Petroleum industry visit www.nzpam.govt.nz(external link)
Who does what and when in NZ's offshore waters
In New Zealand, oil and gas (petroleum) and mineral exploration and production is managed at every step. The graphic below shows the responsibilities of central and local government agencies during the various stages.