Oil company applies to drill on Stewart Island

22:03, May 25 2012

Greymouth Petroleum has asked the Government to extend the area of its oil exploration permit on Stewart Island – but it will not be allowed to look for oil inside Rakiura National Park.

On Wednesday, Greymouth filed a consent application with Southland District Council to drill an exploratory well on the island on privately owned land.

It holds a permit, No50122, covering seas to the east of Stewart Island, granted in 2007 as part of the Great South Basin oil prospect, with the extreme south-western edge touching on the island.

However, it has also asked for the permit area on the island to be made larger and asked for new conditions governing its exploration plan.

The extension would cover Halfmoon Bay, the northern shore of Paterson's Inlet and Horseshoe Bay – effectively the populated area of the island.

New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals spokeswoman Tracy Dillimore said the Conservation Department was being consulted to ensure Greymouth would not be able to drill on Schedule 4 land or in the national park, which makes up 85 per cent of the island.

The company's permit expires on July 25. Ms Dillimore said it had until then to apply for an extension.

She said NZPAM would not discuss what conditions Greymouth wanted changed while it was negotiating with the company.

Stewart Island community board chairman Jon Spraggon said the land was not in the national park.