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.
- If an operator has found petroleum or minerals and wants to start production, they need to apply to NZP&M for a mining permit. NZP&M will again assess their proposed work programme, their technical and financial capability, and their compliance history; and will undertake a preliminary, high-level assessment of the operator’s capability and systems that are likely to be required to meet applicable health, safety and environmental legislation.
- The plan must also demonstrate maximum responsible recovery of the petroleum or minerals. Before awarding a permit, NZP&M consults again with iwi and hapu.
- If the activity is to occur in the EEZ or CS, the operator will also need to obtain a marine consent from the EPA as part of a publicly notified process. This includes a number of stages – including publicly notifying the application, the opportunity for the public to make submissions, a hearing, and consideration of the application by a decision-making committee appointed by the EPA Board. The consent will cover various environmental effects of the operation including placement of structures, operational discharges and any dumping activities.
- If a marine consent is granted, it will set out what conditions (under s20 of the EEZ Act) are imposed to address the adverse effects of the proposed activity on the environment or existing interests. These are then monitored and enforced by the EPA.
- If the activity is to occur within territorial waters, the operator may need to go through a similar resource consent process with the relevant regional council.
- Operators need to apply for approval from MNZ for their oil spill contingency plan (OSCP).