Port to bid if oil, gas found
The South Canterbury economy could be set to benefit to the tune of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs if oil and gas extraction off the Oamaru coast goes ahead.
Last week minerals firm New Zealand Oil and Gas, (NZOG) released the Barque Field Development Economic Impact Assessment.
The report examined the potential for mineral extraction from the Barque Prospect, an oil and gas field 60 kilometres off the Oamaru coast.
The report touted the possibility of 5 trillion cubic feet of gas and light oil in the field, with the potential to generate $15 billion in GDP, and $32b in royalties and taxes over its life.
In addition to creating 5700 jobs every year during the construction phase, the report also estimated capital expenditure of between $40 million and $150m by Timaru’s PrimePort, to create the necessary extraction and support facilities.
PrimePort chief executive Phil Melhopt said it would ‘‘absolutely’’ put up a tender to provide support services during the initial surveying and possible sub- sequent extraction phase.
In the assessment, two possible scenarios for extraction from the field were explored. One was for oil and gas to be extracted and separated offshore. The oil would be put onto vessels and directly exported, with a potential yield of 460 million barrels of oil during a 35-year period from 2025 onwards.
The second scenario was for gas to be extracted via 14 production wells and piped to shore, delivering a long-term, reliable gas supply. In the report, PrimePort Timaru and Port Otago were listed as ‘‘possible service hubs under both development scenarios’’.
According to the report, the offshore scenario would require $40m of investment in Timaru’s port.
It was estimated a seven-year construction phase would involve NZOG and PrimePort spending an average of $204m each year directly on activities and businesses based in the region.
The onshore scenario, which would require capital expenditure of $150 million, was modelled by the report as being serviced from PrimePort Timaru, ‘‘which will provide permanent berth and storage facilities for a supply ship’’.