Our neighbours

Oil and gas activity takes place mostly in and around rural communities in New Zealand, primarily Taranaki.

Regional and District councils play a central role in defining the day-to-day relationship between the oil and gas industry and it's immediate community. Ensuring that activity fits comfortably with our kiwi lifestyles is formalised, in large part, through the resource consent process.

Setting the boundaries - resource consenting

Setting the boundaries - resource consenting

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The Resource Management Act (RMA) - protecting our environment

The RMA is New Zealand's primary piece of legislation defining how the oil and gas industry interacts with it's neighbours, promoting the sustainable management of natural and physical resources such as land, air and water.

Delivering on the Act

Regional and District Councils are responsible under the RMA for managing the effects of activities on the onshore environment via the resource consent process.

Regional councils also have jurisdiction in the coastal marine area (out to 12 nautical miles offshore).

Resource consents are generally required under the RMA for oil and gas activity, depending on the rules in regional and district plans. To plan rules for the oil and gas sector vary from plan to plan in the same way they do for other sectors.

Regional councils

The provisions in regional plans that are likely to be of most relevance to petroleum-related activities are:

  • water takes
  • discharges to water
  • stormwater treatment and discharge
  • discharge of contaminants to land (e.g. fracking or waste injection)
  • discharges to air
  • earthworks
  • natural hazards, and
  • the storage and management of hazardous substances

To explore the range of monitoring reports made to Taranaki Regional Council between 1 August 2014 - 31 August 2016, click below.

Explore some reports

District Councils

The provisions in district plans that are likely to be of most relevance to petroleum-related activities are land-use consents for:

  • well sites
  • production stations
  • pipelines
  • the control of noise and light spill
  • traffic generation and traffic management, and
  • the transportation, storage and use of hazardous substances

Each resource consent application is assessed on its own merits in terms of whether it should be approved or not, and what notification will be undertaken.

Review some consents

Notified versus non-notified

Notified versus non-notified

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Resource consents are not always required to include public notification.

Non-notified consenting is common in the consenting process of councils nationwide, and is not unique to consenting oil and gas projects.

Non-notified consenting also does not necessarily mean the public (and/or iwi) are excluded from the consenting process.

Between 2011-2012, Taranaki Regional Council granted 234 non-notified consents across all regulated activity. In 79 applications, iwi were consulted by the applicant or council, resulting in 117 unique iwi consultations. During that period, Taranaki Regional Council reported a total of over 550 community consultations regarding total resource consent activity for the Taranaki region.

An outstanding compliance record

An outstanding compliance record

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As the region enjoying the majority of oil and gas activity, Taranaki Regional Council has the most data to assess consent compliance.

Between 2012/13 Taranaki Regional Council was responsible for 221 site inspections and 1303 compliance inspections in the oil and gas sector. Or those inspections:

  • 1292 consents were found to be fully compliant
  • 8 consents were non-compliant
  • 3 inspections pending further information
  • 60 ground water samples/3500 analyses
  • 3 soil samples
  • 169 surface water samples
  • 137 resource consents granted

During the period under review, the Company demonstrated a high level of environmental performance and compliance with the resource consents. The Pohokura facilities were well managed and maintained. A highly proactive approach to environmental stewardship and best practice continues to be demonstrated by the Company.

View Pohokura Production report

 

Historically high rates of compliance

Historically high rates of compliance

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Across all consents granted by the Taranaki Council, Oil and Gas activity received very few abatement notices against consents granted

  2009/2010 2010/2011
Total abatement notices 107 (2*) 146 (1*)
Total infringement notices 42 (2*) 31 (2*)
Total prosecutions 7 (0*) 7 (0*)
  (* bracketed figure is oil and gas industry related notices)
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