The Taranaki Basin is New Zealand's premier Oil and Gas exploration region with about 11 petroleum mining licenses or permits fields. The production and use of Hydrocarbons in New Zealand only became significant in the 1960s in terms of the country's economy and its fuel needs. A BP 2008 Statistical Energy Survey established that New Zealand consumed an average of 151.03 barrels a day. Over 80% of New Zealand's Oil and Gas comes from the Maui and Kapuni fields. Another BP Statistical Energy Survey of 2007 reported that the country had a natural gas production of 4.01m b billion and the consumption standing at 3.74 billion cubic meters.
Major industry players include such companies as Shell, NZ Oil and Gas, a wellington based petroleum and mineral exploration company with permits in the Taranaki basin and coking deposits in the Paparoa mountain range; Powerco, 100% public listed company, the second largest gas and electricity company with further operations in Tasmania and Australia, and the Auckland Gas company that provides gas for residential or commercial customers in the Auckland region and is a fervent competitor having been in the market for quite a long time.
The petroleum products industry in New Zealand consists of five companies: British Petroleum (BP), Chevron (marketing as Caltex), Mobil (an affiliate of ExxonMobil), Shell and Gull. BP, Caltex, Mobil and Shell dominate the market and supply a full range of products. Gull has a smaller market share and has limited its participation to petrol and diesel sales. Gull was the first oil company to offer biofuels in New Zealand; a blend of premium petrol (90%) and bio-ethanol (10%) is available at many of its retail outlets. Mobil has now also entered the bio-fuel market in New Zealand. It now offers regular and premium petrol blended with bio-ethanol, and a 5% bio-diesel blend at a few of its retail outlets.
This month, the Economic Development Ministry in New Zealand awarded ROC Oil ltd. and its joint venture partners exploration permit PEP52181. Located offshore Taranaki, the permit contains the Kaheru prospect and is on trend with the Rimu Oil and Gas fields and Kauri gas and condensate field. The prospect has 3D seismic coverage and the agreed work program for the five year term includes an exploration well (Kaheru-1) in year three. ROC will operate the 171.5km² permit with other participating interests as ROC Oil (NZ-operated) – 50%; Mighty River Power and Gas Investments – 20%, L & M Energy- 15% and Mosaic Oil NL- 15%.