Rulings

Rulings allow petroleum operators to continue with activities that existed before the EEZ Act came into force.

Rulings apply only to Beach Energy New Zealand Limited, Tamarind Taranaki Limited and OMV New Zealand Limited. These operators will need to obtain a ruling from the EPA if they want to:

  • undertake a part of an activity that had not started before the EEZ Act came into force,
  • change the character, intensity or scale of an existing activity, or
  • alter, extend, remove, or demolish an existing structure or existing submarine pipeline associated with an activity.

A ruling is provided when the EPA determines that the adverse effects of these activities on the environment and existing interests are minor or less than minor.

For more information on the rulings process and to obtain a rulings request form contact us.

Contact details for the EEZ Applications team

What is a ruling Plus

A ruling is a statement from the EPA that the adverse effects on the environment or existing interests of activities described in section 162(3) of the EEZ Act are likely to be minor or less than minor. A ruling provides for operators to undertake those activities lawfully under the EEZ Act without a marine consent.

When do I need to seek an EEZ ruling Plus

Rulings are required by petroleum mining operators who wish to undertake an existing activity that involves:

  • an existing structure or an existing submarine pipeline; and
  • is associated with mining for petroleum authorised by a petroleum mining permit granted under section 25 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991 before 28 June 2013 (the date of the EEZ Act coming into force) or authorised by an existing privilege preserved under clause 12 of Schedule 1 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991.

Section 162 of the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012 (EEZ Act) allows an operator to continue with existing activities involving structures or pipelines which would otherwise require a marine consent as a result of the EEZ Act coming into force. These existing activities may continue without a marine consent for the term of the relevant petroleum mining permit or privilege under the Crown Minerals Act 1991.

However, if an operator wishes to undertake activities described in section 162(3) of the EEZ Act, they will need to obtain a ruling from the EPA. Activities described in section 162(3) include:

  • any activity that is part of the activity, such as placing a structure or drilling a well, that had not commenced before the EEZ Act came into force
  • any change in the character, intensity or scale of the activity made on or after the date on which the EEZ Act came into force
  • the alteration, extension, removal or demolition of an existing structures or existing submarine pipeline associated with the activity
When is a ruling not required Plus

Activities that are specified in section 162(3) above that do not have any adverse effect on the environment or existing interests will not need a ruling to be able to take place without a marine consent under section 162(4) (assuming such activities fall within section 162(1)).

In addition, changes to the character, intensity and scale of an existing activity that do not have an adverse effect on the environment or existing interests will not require a ruling under section 162(2).

How to request a ruling Plus

The EPA encourages requestors to have ‘pre-lodgement’ discussions with the EPA prior to lodging a request for a ruling. This is to ensure there is a good understanding of the rulings assessment and decision-making process.

The EPA has a request form to make processing a ruling more efficient. The request form should be completed for all requests and sent to the EPA, along with supporting information. To discuss the rulings process or obtain the request form, please contact the EPA at eez.info@epa.govt.nz or call free phone 0800 208 338.

What we need to process a ruling request Plus

Detailed guidance on what the EPA needs to process a request for a ruling and how it will assess the information provided and make a decision on whether the effect is minor or less than minor, is available here:

Guidance to operators on rulings (pdf 579KB)

Guidance on using the rulings assessment tool (pdf 806KB)