New Zealand’s 1st commercial discovery since 2006

New Zealand’s 1st commercial discovery since 2006

OMV has discovered hydrocarbons offshore New Zealand.

The New Zealand television network, TVNZclaims that OMV has confirmed a positive result for hydrocarbons – oil and natural gas – 50km off the Taranaki coast at its Toutouwai-1 exploration well. 

Source: PEPANZ

OMV announced earlier this month that it was postponing drilling on its upcoming Maui-8 exploration well indefinitely due to the Covid-19 crisis. Maui-8 would have been the fourth well drilled in their current exploration campaign, and two earlier wells – the Gladstone-1 and Tawhaki-1, were both unsuccessful, TVNZ continues. 

The Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ)’ response to the news by the Chief Executive John Carnegie, was that “reports of the demise of our sector have been greatly and prematurely exaggerated. 

This is good news at a time when New Zealand’s economy really needs it. There is still plenty of work to be done before any development is confirmed, but the potential benefits to Taranaki and all New Zealand are substantial,” Carnegie said.  

We haven’t had a commercial discovery since 2006. If we don’t develop our own energy then we are at the mercy of overseas producers and could end up importing LNG. We think it’s much better to produce our own energy here in New Zealand instead. 

“The energy provided by natural gas and oil still has a very important role to play as we transition to a lower emissions world”. Carnegie added. 


Oil and gas has a long history in New Zealand. In fact, the very first well dug in the British Commonwealth was drill at Moturoa, on the New Plymouth foreshore, in 1865. 

Over subsequent years, numerous other wells appeared but these were small and sporadic. 

The development of new technologies such as acoustic imaging and deep rotary drilling resulted in the discovery of the large onshore Kapuni gas-condensate field in South Taranaki in 1959. This discovery allowed the development of the North Island gas transmission network, bringing gas directly into homes and businesses . 

In 1969 the massive Maui gas-condensate field was discovered. At the time, it was one of the largest in the world and provided New Zealand with cheap and abundant gas for over 25 years. 

There are now over 20 producing oil and gas fields in New Zealand, all of them based in Taranaki. 

While production varies in any given year, in the last 10 years New Zealand has generally produced anything from 10 to 20 million plus barrels of oil, between 150 to 200 billion cubic feet of gas, and 1 to 2 million barrels of LPG every year. 

Source: PEPANZ