Currently over 100 000 km2 of seafloor around New Zealand are permitted for hydrocarbon exploration. NIWA has been undertaking seafloor surveys for new gas pipelines to shore, and site surveys for oil-rig drilling operations. In recent months we have undertaken multibeam and high-resolution seismic surveys of the Kupe and Pohokura production sites and possible pipeline routes, and a site survey of the Tui development area for engineering evaluations. The Ministry of Economic Development has also commissioned us to provide wave climatologies for areas off the east and west coast of the North Island as these areas attract exploration interest.
Precious and base metals are also attracting attention from resource companies. Some 19 000 km2 are currently permitted for offshore mineral exploration. NIWA has been providing advice and desk-top reviews of existing geological information and multibeam bathymetry.