Oil industry to face opposition

The New Zealand oil and gas industry announced the appointment of a new chief executive and a quadrupled budget today as it prepares to fight harder for the industry in the face of growing opposition to unconventional oil exploration, such as deep-sea drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

The initiatives came from a strategic review last year of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand and will see its budget swell from around $250,000 a year to around $1 million.

The revamped PEPANZ will also be governed by a board composed of the most senior representatives of oil and gas company players in New Zealand, mostly chief executives, whereas its previous governance involved a hands-on committee of second-tier managers. To emphasise the importance of the change, members of the new board will be prohibited from sending alternates to board meetings.