There are six stages of the approval process for exploration and production activities in New Zealand's offshore waters:
1. Assessing the seabed
In this stage, operators must seek approval to search for petroleum or minerals and comply with EEZ regulations and the seismic code of conduct.
A rigorous approval process must be completed before an operator can begin the exploration process. The conditions of these consents will be monitored and enforced.
Operators need specific approval before entering the production phase. This includes a publicly notified application process for a marine consent that provides the opportunity for the public to make submissions.
4. Ongoing monitoring
Operators will be monitored and authorities will take enforcement action if any conditions are breached.
5. Oil spill response
New Zealand's oil spill response strategy sets out how an incident would be managed. Any operator who causes an oil spill is liable for all the costs involved in the response.
Authorisation is needed before steps are taken to retire a production facility. This includes providing a revised safety case for approval.