The potential for a new massive gas field off South Island’s east coast could create 5,700 jobs and bring in $32 billion in royalties, New Zealand Oil & Gas has said.
The company said earlier this year the Barque prospect holds potentially more gas than previously thought, but the project has drawn strong criticism from environmental groups.
On Monday, the company released a report showing it had the potential to add 7.1 billion New Zealand dollars (€4.19 billion) annually to the national economy, and $32 billion (€18.9 billion) in royalties and taxes over the life of the field. The field could virtually double New Zealand’s oil and gas production, chief executive Andrew Jefferies said.
NZOG has until April next year to make a decision to drill a well and until 2020 to actually do so. The company has recently been subject to two partial takeover bids, with the higher bid coming from Singapore-based OG Oil & Gas.
The company, whose parent is based in Monaco, is chaired by Eyal Ofer – son of shipping magnate Sammy Ofer – and is looking to buy up to 67.55 per cent of the NZOG shares it does not already hold for a price of 78 cents.
OG Oil & Gas currently holds just under 18 percent of the company after NZOG’s second biggest shareholder, H&G – the investment arm of the Cushing family – committed its 9.2 percent stake. Ofer’s offer closes on December 9 unless extended. OG Oil & Gas has said that unlike its rival, Zeta Energy, it wants to push its exploration rights further.