THE NEW Zealand oil and gas industry has never looked brighter, with more players involved in the exploration and production sector than ever before as a number of frontier basins are being explored.

In the early 2000s New Zealand had only one producing offshore field, the Maui oil and gas field, though the crude oil petered out after producing a modest 35 million barrels and the Whakaaropai FPSO was decommissioned in 2005.

There was only one pipeline to share, the Maui to Oaonui pipeline, and one onshore production station, which is still operating at Oaonui.

Now New Zealand boasts the offshore Maui, Pohokura and Kupe gas-condensate fields and Tui and Maari-Manaia oil fields, with pipelines to shore for the Pohokura and Kupe fields, and oil processing FPSO vessels for Tui and Maari-Manaia.

And while still “lumpy” with peaks and troughs, offshore exploration activity has also increased in recent years, with an unprecedented number of drilling units here last summer – a deepwater drillship, a semi-submersible, a jack-up and a modular offshore drilling unit (MODU) still aboard the Maui A platform.

This 500 per cent increase in the number of offshore producing fields has also meant a large increase in the number of supply vessels servicing the fields and in the number of offshore and onshore support services being offered.

There is an increasing number of home grown companies in the major centres and particularly in Taranaki, the country’s only energy region, utilising their intimate knowledge of how the industry works and the sometimes complex Taranaki geology to produce specialist equipment and machinery, sometimes to the world.

There are global companies, such as Contract Resources or Golding Landrill offering their specialist electrical, mechanical, chemical and process control or instrumentation and pipeline services.

Others, such as S2V Consulting Pty, offer specialist consultancy services, while still others, including Gardline, offer various marine services.

Domestic companies, such as Custom Control and EHL Group, offer their specialised industrial and mechanical services process control. Others offer scaffolding, painting, blasting or insulation services.

There is also the continued extensive use of road tankers trucking Taranaki crude and condensate to Port Taranaki for export, mainly to the east coast of Australia.

Road tankers also take LPG to the port for delivery by coastal tankers to parts of the South Island, which has no reticulated gas is around the region and beyond, even to the northern tip of the South Island.

There are also the continued exports through Port Taranaki to the small South Pacific nations, Australia and some South-East Asian nations.

These groups, and more, will have displays at the NZ Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference 2014 – the premier trade event for New Zealand’s oil & gas industry, which provides the ideal venue to source new products and services and to meet and network with industry peers.

To be held from 22 to 23 October in New Plymouth’s TSB Stadium, the NZ Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference is based at the heart of the industry, allowing the men and women who work to keep the industry going to make new contacts and share new ideas.

The event is not to be missed for anyone who works in New Zealand’s oil and gas industry.