COMMENT:  See Maori Foreshore and Seabed Claim  Check out this page - Scientists to probe seabed treasures
And also
New Zealand Lodges Seabed Boundary with UN.

NZ's Offshore Mineral Resources
Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences
GNS researchers, in conjunction with NIWA, have been studying New Zealand’s offshore mineral resources to gain a better understanding of their evolution and economic value. The main focus has been to the northeast of New Zealand where eight of the 13 undersea volcanoes in the Kermadec Arc region are hydrothermally active. At least three have massive sulphide deposits that contain quantities of copper, zinc, and gold. GNS studies show the chemistry and hydrothermal emissions varies considerably among the volcanoes in this chain. This may be strongly related to their origins and evolution.
Scientists estimate that at least 80 percent of the world’s volcanism occurs in the oceans, and a large proportion of these undersea volcanoes have yet to be mapped and characterised. It is conceivable that up to 40 of the additional 65 identified undersea volcanoes between New Zealand and Tonga are hydrothermally active and have associated deposits that are rich in minerals. GNS and its research partners plan further study of this region to identify the extent of seafloor mineral deposits. Part of this research involves trying to determine the impact that undersea volcanic emissions have on global ocean chemistry and the marine food chain.
GNS, in collaboration with NIWA and KIGAM, is also studying the distribution and physical and chemical properties of manganese nodules in parts of the South Pacific. GNS’ research of offshore mineral resources forms an integral part of New Zealand’s claim under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). GNS’ role is to provide intelligence on the distribution and characteristics of offshore mineral resources. GNS is not involved in harvesting these resources.
New Zealand has until August 2006 to lodge a claim with the UN to extend its economic zone. If a well-researched claim is not lodged by then, rights to this area could be lost. It is worth noting that New Zealand currently has the world’s fourth largest offshore economic zone behind the United States, Australia, and Indonesia. Almost 95 percent of New Zealand’s continental area lies under water.
New Zealand’s EEZ covers about four million square kilometres. A successful claim under UNCLOS would give New Zealand jurisdiction over six million square kilometres of ocean floor, or one percent of the Earth’s surface.
The Centre for Advanced Engineering (CAE) at Canterbury University has estimated that seafloor mineral deposits within New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone could be worth up to $500 billion. However, CAE concedes that any attempt to value marine mineral resources at this stage is speculative. The true value of these resources will depend on future market prices relative to extraction costs.
Contact: Cornel De Ronde  Ian Graham
Northland oil find 'just a matter of time'

The prospect of a "North Sea-scale" oil and gas field off the west coast of Northland has been raised again by the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences.
The institute's petroleum research programme leader, Dr Peter King, says it is gearing up for a surge of exploration work round New Zealand, with world oil prices at record highs.
The institute's annual report, tabled in Parliament on Friday, said its research showed "significant potential for North Sea-scale oil and gas fields not only off the coast of Taranaki, but also off the west coast of Northland where, using reprocessed seismic data, we have identified up to 30 possible drilling targets".
"Five of these targets are about 100sq km in area - approaching the size of the giant Maui gas field," it said.
Even more - "at least a dozen Maui-sized structures" - had been identified in the East Coast Basin extending from East Cape south to Marlborough.
The upbeat report follows a Government incentive package for oil and gas exploration announced in June, including an extra $15 million in the next two to three years for "pre-competitive" research.Dr King said that with bids for drilling rights off Northland due to close on December 15, the focus of the next research would be on the east coast. He hopes to investigate a layer of marine sediment laid down about 55 million years ago called Waipawa black shale, which is believed to have a higher ratio of oil to gas than the Taranaki formations where Maui gas was found.
Dr King said the institute was also doing cutting-edge research to show that the kind of "coaly" rocks where Maui gas was found could also contain oil... Dr King said it was "probably just a matter of time" until a substantive oil discovery was made.
Mangatoa could bring in billions WEDNESDAY, 02 FEBRUARY 2005
Explorer New Zealand Oil and Gas and Origin Energy, Contact Energy's parent, may be sitting on a gas prospect three-quarters the size of Maui, potentially worth billions of dollars. The offshore Mangatoa prospect in north Taranaki could be bigger than first thought and might hold as much as three trillion cubic feet of gas, NZOG said yesterday in a quarterly activities report. That is about 3000 petajoules of gas, three-quarters the size of Maui and more than three times the Pohokura gasfield, still to be developed. NZOG owns 50 per cent of the prospect and is the operator, and Origin owns the other 50 per cent. Previously, NZOG had been talking about Mangatoa possibly holding two trillion cubic feet of gas. If a big gasfield was discovered, it could kill proposals to import liquefied natural gas by two big electricity producers, Contact Energy and state power company Genesis Power. It might also help cure the woes of methanol-maker Methanex, operating at about a sixth of its capacity because of the rundown of Maui and insufficient supplies of local gas. NZOG and Origin are looking in New Zealand and internationally for a partner to buy into the Mangatoa prospect. The partner would pay for the drilling of an exploration well - estimated to cost $20 million - to establish the size of potential reserves...  Mangatoa was high risk. The greatest uncertainty was whether gas flow rates would be good enough for commercial production. NZOG and Origin put out an information memorandum on Mangatoa late last year to attract a partner. It said most likely gas reserves at Mangatoa were two trillion cubic feet and the prospect could generate gross revenue of US$12.5 billion (NZ$17.6 billion). Mr Ward said some overseas and New Zealand-based parties had shown "preliminary interest" in Mangatoa. "We think that there will be interest from New Zealand companies, particularly from gas users," Mr Ward said. NZOG would complete its re-evaluation of the prospect, update the information memorandum and talk to the parties again that had shown interest. Mangatoa is offshore in north Taranaki. The Te Ranga well was drilled in the prospect in 1986 and intersected a 140-metre gas column. NZOG wants to drill an exploration well 8km from the Te Ranga well.
Chinese explorer eyes NZ gas fields

NZ Herald, 14.03.05
Chinese oil and gas giant Sinopec has New Zealand in its sights as China moves to slake its thirst for fuel. Sinopec president Wang Jiming, who discussed broad opportunities in a private meeting with Prime Minister Helen Clark at Auckland’s Hilton Hotel on Thursday, said his company was focused on gas fields in Taranaki and Northland. Wang, who was in Auckland for the Inside the New China Summit, said he had been given a positive and friendly reception by Helen Clark. Clark had expressed welcome and support to Chinese enterprises to take part in the exploration and development of New Zealand oil and gas resources. She was not available to comment directly but her spokeswoman said the meeting was cordial. Officials were deputed to hastily arrange a meeting between Wang and Crown Mineral Resource Group manager Adam Feeley to push discussions further. Wang said Feeley would provide Sinopec with more information on the gas field projects: Sinopec will study them and explore the possibilities of co-operation. Sinopec’s interest comes at a time when the Government is seeking to attract more offshore interest in gas exploration as the Maui gas field winds down.
The Government has made changes to the tax treatment of oil and gas exploration to remove unnecessary barriers to offshore explorers. Asked whether a Sinopec development proposal would make available gas for New Zealand as well as Chinese consumers, Wang replied: "Based upon careful studying of the related information, we would seriously consider the co-operation with New Zealand in the above-mentioned areas. "If Sinopec takes part in the development of New Zealand’s oil and gas reserves we will give top priority to the demand of New Zealand and Chinese consumers."
Associate Finance Minister Harry Duynhoven said Sinopec’s interest was fortunate. He stressed it was too early to say what form its investment would take if it eventuated but any deal that resulted in increased gas production would clearly benefit the consumer and the Government, which stood to extract royalty payments. US players had also expressed interest in the gas and oil fields since the foreshadowing of tax changes.
China’s interest in New Zealand’s energy and mineral reserves is not confined to oil and gas exploration. Black Sands Exploration, a subsidiary of China’s Best Quality Life Group, has applied to Crown Minerals for a permit to mine a 3617sq m stretch of coast between Taranaki and Kaipara for iron sands. Consultants understood to be acting for iwi groups claim the move will lead to erosion of the sea bed. But Duynhoven said the claim was nonsense as the iron-bearing material was extracted from the sand before export. The publicly-listed Sinopec Corp, short for China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, recently made a raft of offshore deals, particularly in Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, to secure oil and gas reserves.
The interest is not one-sided. Energy Minister Trevor Mallard recently promoted the international sale of New Zealand gas technologies. The Government is also reviewing the tax rules applying to non-resident drilling rights operators which have to travel large distances to reach this country. Among specific changes are: a reduction in gas royalties from 5 per cent to 1 per cent on production from discoveries made within 2004-2009 and deductions in relation to accounting profit royalties on production from discoveries of exploration and prospecting costs incurred in New Zealand.

New Zealand Lodges Seabed Boundary with UN
Scoop News Wednesday, 19 April 2006, 9:47 am
Press Release: New Zealand Government Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs
19 April 2006
New Zealand has lodged its seabed boundary with a special United Nations Commission, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today... The boundary contained in the submission encompasses approximately 1.7 million square kilometres of seabed outside New Zealand’s existing 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone. The seabed in this area is known as the ‘continental shelf’. “This area is more than six times the size of New Zealand itself.
The submission will enable New Zealand to exercise its rights over the continental shelf with certainty, including its rights to valuable resources such as minerals and petroleum,” said Mr Peters. New Zealand is entitled to the undersea resources of the continental shelf. The seas above the continental shelf are international waters, so New Zealand has no special rights to the fisheries in this area.
The submission is the product of a $44 million Government project, carried out over 10 years by officials and scientists. Special surveys were carried out to provide the information required to identify the continental shelf boundary.
The submission will be considered by the 21-member United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, based in New York, and once confirmed, the boundary will be binding on other countries. A boundary will be negotiated with Fiji and Tonga over the continental shelf to the north of New Zealand. A continental shelf boundary was agreed with Australia in July 2004.

Background Information
What benefits will the submission bring?
The additional 1.7million square kilometres of seabed included in the submission will have cost about $26 a square kilometre. Considering the potential economic and social benefits from this extended area, many scientists consider this to be an outstanding investment.
Under UNCLOS, a coastal State exercises “sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring” the continental shelf and “exploiting its natural resources”. The natural resources of the continental shelf are defined as consisting of the “mineral and other non-living resources of the sea-bed and subsoil together with living organisms belonging to sedentary species, that is to say, organisms which, at the harvestable stage, either are immobile on or under the sea-bed or are unable to move except in constant physical contact with the seabed or subsoil”. This includes organisms such as sponges and molluscs.
The submission will confirm those rights with respect to the international community, and will define the area of New Zealand’s continental shelf in concrete geographical terms. The submission will therefore enable New Zealand to exercise its continental shelf rights with significantly greater certainty in the future. This will
enable New Zealand to issue exploration and extraction licences, and will provide the commercial certainty necessary for companies to invest in resource development activities.
Relatively little is known about the resources of the continental shelf beyond the EEZ, but they may include mineral and petroleum resources, and possibly yet-to-be-discovered marine species and micro-organisms that could have potentially valuable applications in a number of sectors including medicine. Further information about the resources of the continental shelf beyond the EEZ may be obtained through the Government’s Oceans Survey 20/20 initiative.