Gas Fields & Production
Petroleum (including gas) exploration activity is at its highest for many years. New Zealand’s gas reserves position has strengthened, improving New Zealand’s supply horizon from around six years in 2002 to about 11 years at current production rates.
The long-serving Maui and Kapuni fields are undergoing life-extending development to enhance gas and condensate recovery, while substantial development of the Mangahewa field is being underwritten by a significant supply agreement with Methanex to boost methanol production. In addition, new-entrant explorer/producers have been making their mark with new discoveries, including the Turangi, Kowhai and Sidewinder fields, and applying advanced production technologies to turn previously non-commercial finds into viable producers.
The commissioning in 2011 of New Zealand’s first underground gas storage facility at the Ahuroa field by Contact Energy has added a new dimension to supply/demand management and flexibility.
Unconventional gas – primarily shale and coal seam gas – that is making a substantial impact on global gas reserves is seen as having significant potential in New Zealand, but developments here are in their infancy with currently no material commercialisation of them. Policymakers and the industry are addressing environmental concerns associated with exploration and production practices employed in tapping unconventional gas resources.
Annual gas production currently averages around 180 PJ per year.