- Why NZ
- Doing O&G Business
- Future Energy
- News Centre
O&G Legislation - overview
This section provides a synopsis of key legislation for O&G activity and how it is administered in New Zealand as it relates to:
Acquiring permits to prospect, explore and mine petroleum in NZ
Health & safety
Pertinent legislation, policies and documents such as offshore property protection, oil spill response strategy etc.
There are different organisations involved in administering the legislative functions that relate to O&G activities.
These responsibilities may also differ according to whether the O&G activity is onshore or off-shore and also how far offshore (e.g. beyond 12 nm’s).
Below is an overview of the key activities, legislation and who does what in NZ.
|O&G Regulatory Agencies At A Glance|
|Permit to prospect/explore/mine||New Zealand Petroleum & Mining (NZP&M)||New Zealand Petroleum & Mining (NZP&M)|
|Environmental matters||Regional and Local Councils (District/City)|
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
|Health & Safety|
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)
A valuable regulatory listing of various Government agencies as it relates to the O&G industry is also here
The Crown Minerals Act 1991 is the cornerstone legislation that defines the process for those considering obtaining permits for prospecting, exploration and mining on Crown land within New Zealand and it is administered by the Minister of Energy and Resources.
The Act also defines that petroleum in its natural state in New Zealand belongs to the Crown (s 10).
‘New Zealand’ includes not only its (onshore, dry) land area but also its territorial area that extends to 12 nautical miles (nm) from the shore. Under international law, New Zealand also has exclusive rights, beyond its territorial sea to the petroleum resource domiciled in the sea bed, that extends between 12 nm to 200 nm (known as the Exclusive Economic Zone – ‘EEZ’) and even further, to the extended continental shelf (ECS).
Within this extended zone beyond New Zealand’s territorial sea, the Crown does not own the petroleum but can allocate rights in relation to its exploration and mining, and can receive a royalty from any production that may result.
There are changes are currently underway with respect to the CMA. These include H&S, permit application process, exploration permit duration aned relinguishment and Iwi engagement. Read more about the Crown Minerals (Permitting and Crown Land) Bill including the summary of changes.
For a map of New Zealand, including boundaries pertinant to the O&G industry, click here:
Important supporting documents:
The Minerals Programme for Petroleum has the policies, procedures and provisions to be applied in relation to the allocation and management of petroleum permits granted under the Crown Minerals Act.
The Crown Minerals (Petroleum) Regulations 2007 specifies the information that permit/licence holders must supply and includes the forms for applying for, transferring and surrendering permits.
The Crown Minerals Petroleum fees regulations 2006 outlines fees payable for matters specified under the Crown Minerals Act 1991 for petroleum. For more info on New Zealand’s royalty regime click here: [link to royalty tab on web site].
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) administers the Crown Minerals Act 1991 (the "Act'). MBIE carries out a wide range of functions associated with economic development, energy and policy.
Within MBIE, New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals (NZP&M) receives, assesses and grants licences for prospecting, exploration and mining in accordance with the Act. They do not, however, does not manage or regulate the environmental effects of O&G activities, or grant land access.
For more info on permitting process
For more info on land access
The Resource Management Act 1991 is the cornerstone environmental legislation for New Zealand.
The EEZ and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act will form key legislation for off-shore O&G activities (beyond 12 nm).
The Maritime Transport Act 1994 also contains important requirements for the industry, as well as other legislation, entailing environmental, health & safety, property protection and other matters.
Environmental: Onshore & Offshore O&G activities (up to 12 nm from land)
Environmental matters onshore and offshore up to 12 miles (NZ’s territorial sea) are predominantly addressed through the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and administered by Regional and Local Councils. Local Councils (District or City Councils) focus on the environmental effects of land use activities whilst Regional Council’s address air, water, the coast, pollution and discharges.
There are national standards covering oil, garbage and sewerage discharges from installations set out in the Resource Management (Marine Pollution) regulations 1998 and this covers some discharges to the marine environment e.g. oily waste. These regulations are the responsibility of the Ministry of Environment but are also administered by regional councils.
Discharge management plans for installations within the 12 nm limit are also required to meet Maritime NZ administered Part 200 marine spill contingency plan requirements.
Environmental: Off shore - Beyond 12 nm
Beyond 12 nm there is currently no environmental permitting regime per se for offshore activities and installations. New environmental provisions are presently being developed for the area beyond 12 nm covering the EEZ and ECS. View legislation here. The new organisation with these responsibilities will be the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Best Practice Guidelines are in place, and whilst voluntary, they reflect the commitment from Government and the O&G industry in NZ to promote responsible activity, and to assist with the identification, assessment and management of environmental effects beyond 12nm.
The Maritime Transport Act 1994 is important offshore-related legislation for O&G activities as it applies to the EEZ and the extended continental shelf, covering safety, protection of the marine environment, wastes, pollution, oil spills, and response plans.
Additional environmental requirements are also set out in Part 200 – Offshore Installations – Discharges which is administered by Maritime New Zealand. Operators are required to hold a discharge management plan and this must be approved by the director of Maritime NZ. Discharge management plans contain a number of components including an environmental impact assessment and process for environmental monitoring and contingency planning for responses to emergencies, such as oil spills.
Maritime NZ also conducts regular inspections and audits of installations to ensure compliance.
Find out more about Maritime NZ and O&G requirements.
Protection from unwanted organisms
The Biosecurity Act 1993 contains measures and powers that prevent the arrival of unwanted organisms that could arrive in New Zealand’s waters on oil and gas structures, platforms, drill rigs and specialised vessels that are floated in. Undetected, they could pose a risk to New Zealand’s marine species and industry.
Presently the Biosecurity Act is only applicable to the 12 nm zone, however, a review of the Act is currently underway to encompass greater consideration of the activities occurring within the EEZ and ECS.
- Click here for a useful overview of biosecurity requirements
- Contact for biosecurity matters, including marine biosecurity, is Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
- Ballast water discharges are also managed under the Biosecurity Act 1993 by Biosecurity NZ and useful guidelines are available.
Before bringing floating structures, rigs, specialised vessels to New Zealand, please contact liz jones, senior marine adviser, border standards, MPI Biosecurity New Zealand. phone (04) 894 0481 or email email@example.com or Standards@mpi.govt.nz
Prevention of pollution by dumping of installations
Disused or abandoned offshore vessels within New Zealand can only be dumped into the sea with the authority of a permit from the relevant authority. Within 12 nm the relevant authority is the local regional Council, who undertakes this function in accordance with the RMA 1991 and Resource Management (marine pollution) regulations 1998.
Outside territorial waters, the relevant authority is Maritime NZ who undertake these responsibilities in accordance with the Maritime Transport Act 1994 and Marine Protection Rules Part 180 – Dumping or waste of other matter.
Flaring and venting
Flaring and venting can only be undertaken with the appropriate consent, granted under the Crown Minerals (Petroleum ) Regulations 2007.
Monitoring and consents as they relate to environmental effects of flaring e.g. discharge to air, are undertaken by the relevant Regional Council.
Health and Safety
The cornerstone Health and Safety legislation in New Zealand is The Health & Safety in Employment Act 1992 and O&G companies should also refer to the Health & Safety in Employment (Petroleum exploration and extraction ) Regulations 1999. - "PEE"
There are important changes underway to PEE to clarify and strengthen H&S requirements in the O&G industry. Read further
The key regulatory organisation for onshore and offshore activity is the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment - MBIE (which has absorbed what was formerly the Department of Labour (DOL) including H&S regulatory activities.
The High Hazards Unit within this department is dedicated to assuring there are high standards of safety in New Zealand’s mining, petroleum and geothermal sectors.
Whilst onshore MBIE is the principle agency, offshore, some activities are also undertaken by Maritime New Zealand.
MBIE administers and enforces the health and safety regime (including process safety) on board: fixed installations; permanently moored structures, including FPSO’s and MODU’s once the unit is moored and the drilling operation commences.
However, Maritime NZ administers and enforces the health and safety regulatory regime for ships including MODU’s (when they are not drilling).
Other important items
Ministry of Transport (MOT) is responsible for imposing safety zones around installations, the protection of subsea cables and pipelines from hazards. Relevant legislation includes Submarine Cables and Pipelines Protection Act 1996.
Operators of offshore installations in New Zealand continental waters must hold public liability insurance warranting of not less than 14 million International Monetary Fund unit (SDR) of account (approximately NZ $30 million) for third party pollution damage. Relevant legislation includes Maritime Transport (certificates of insurance) Regulations 2005 (made under the Maritime Transport Act) and Marine Protection Rules Part 102 – certificates of insurance.
The Marine Pollution Response Service is an operational unit within Maritime NZ with capability dedicated for dealing with marine oil spills. The unit also administers the NZ marine oil pollution Response Strategy.
In event of an oil spill, there is a tiered response partnership arrangement that exists between Maritime New Zealand, Regional Councils and the oil industry (and overseas agencies). Each tier can be escalated to the next depending on size/scale of the event.
Tier 1: Industry (ships and off shore oil transfer sites)
Tier 2: Regional Councils
Tier 3: Maritime New Zealand
Those responsible for each tier are required to prepare contingency plans and a response capability appropriate to their level of responsibility.
- Find out more about NZ's Oil spill response people and process