New Zealand has significant natural energy resources, with healthy reserves of coal, natural gas and oil / condensate, extensive geothermal fields and a geography and climate which have supported substantial hydroelectric and wind power development. The main minerals mined, in addition to coal, are gold, silver, quartz, iron sands, various other industrial minerals and gravel for road construction.
New Zealand’s total installed generation capacity is approximately 10,000 MW. More than half of generation in 2014 was from hydro stations. Almost 80% was from renewable sources – including geothermal, wind, biomass and solar as well as hydro.
New Zealand does not directly subsidise renewable generation. Other fuel types in New Zealand’s generation mix include coal, oil/diesel and natural gas.
New Zealand is a fast-emerging oil and gas producer with underexplored basins and significant petroleum potential. Oil and gas exploration and production has grown sharply in recent years and is now New Zealand's fourth largest export. The Government aims to increase the value of New Zealand petroleum exports ten-fold from $3 billion to $30 billion a year by 2025.
Oil and gas companies spent around to $2 billion on almost 90 new oil exploration and production wells between 2013-16. According to a Government research paper, even a modest find could see national employment in the oil and gas industry almost triple.
New Zealand's oil exploration and production are currently all in the Taranaki region on the west coast of the North Island. New on and offshore fields in this region continue to drive the industry, along with exploration work in other locations around the country. New Zealand now holds rights to some 5.7 million square kilometres of ocean and seabed (22 times its land area) containing 18 known sedimentary basins.
From a global perspective, New Zealand is a frontier oil and gas location. Lightly explored basins, low-risk and a straightforward entry and permitting process have seen increased investment and activity.