While our oil and gas resources are owned by the state, oil and gas companies are required to negotiate access to any land with the landowner, whether the land is privately or publicly owned, to ensure that activity fits with landowner expectations.
North Taranaki dairy farmers Paul and Bernadette Bourke have had a land access arrangement with Todd Energy since 2006. Following successful exploratory drilling, Todd Taranaki Ltd and the Bourke’s now have a 20-year lease arrangement.
Mangahewa C is one of four producing well sites over the Mangahewa gas-condensate field. Todd Energy is leasing land occupied by the well site as well as all necessary roading. Todd brings in its own water.
“We are paid in advance, annually, and the payment follows the milk price. With so much of Taranaki in dairy, a fair price is one that is based on the milk price,” Paul said.
“Todd Energy originally drew up an agreement – which we got our lawyers to check over.”
Since then Todd Energy has built and maintained additional roading over the farm – which is made of materials friendly to cows, so the Bourke’s can move their cows using the roads.
The arrangement includes plans to put the site back to its original state when the company vacates the property. “The company has done some remedial work onsite, which is actually improving drainage of the land,” he said.
“I looked at this opportunity from the perspective of how it will impact our lives and the farm business.
“We have family that work in the oil and gas industry – and that have grown up beside the Kapuni gas field. I recommend that landowners talk to others about their experiences with land access.”
A registered arbitrator can be found through the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand Inc. Arbitration may be useful for people who may not have the confidence in dealing with mining companies and may wish for a professional arbitrator to determine an access arrangement for them. The cost of arbitration falls entirely on the person desiring access. The access arrangement may contain any condition as agreed between the applicant and the landowner.