Where are we looking?

What areas have been explored in the last few years, and where might we explore in the future?

Approximately 96 percent of ‘New Zealand’ is underwater – a fact that holds significant implications for our economic potential and industries such as oil and gas. New Zealand is resource-rich, yet only fractional amounts of our seafloor have been mapped or examined in detail.

Focus on five basins


New Zealand has 17 distinctive basins in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) that have possible commercial quantities of oil and gas resources. Recent exploration activity has focused on five main areas. These remain the most likely areas for continued exploration and development in the years ahead.

How is the low price of oil effecting exploration activity right now?

How is the low price of oil effecting exploration activity right now?


In recent years the global price of a barrel of oil has been historically low.

Like all commodity markets, oil prices are cyclical and dictated to by the laws of supply and demand. Price volatility is the norm for the industry, with fairly regular ups and downs in the price of oil over the past 50 years.
While current demand for oil continues to increase, this has been outstripped by huge increases in shale production in the United States, combined with increased production from OPEC as the latter sought to maintain its market share. This has caused a marked reduction in oil prices.
This reduction in oil prices has inevitably led to a reduction in exploration activity around the world, with companies delaying decisions on where they invest their capital resources. In fact, discoveries are at their lowest level since the 1940s. This steep decline in exploration activity will inevitably lead to a future supply gap, driving prices up, which will encourage renewed exploration activity to bring on new supplies.


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