Oil, gas and mineral exploration

Learn about the roles and responsibilities of managing oil, gas and mineral exploration and production in the waters around New Zealand.

Six government agencies, together with 16 regional councils, share the responsibility for managing activities in New Zealand’s offshore waters.

These waters include both our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Continental Shelf (CS), and our territ​orial waters.

  • The EEZ is the area from 12 to 200 nautical miles (nm) offshore. The CS is the area where New Zealand’s submerged landmass extends beyond the EEZ. New Zealand has one of the largest of these areas in the world – covering more than four million square kilometres – more than 20 times the size of New Zealand.
  • New Zealand’s territorial waters are the marine waters which extend from the coast out to the 12 nm limit.​

New Zealand’s offshore waters

a map showing the various economic zones that are in place around new zealand
Source: ESRI, DigitalGlobe, I-cubed, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo and the GIS User Community
This map outlines the continental shelf (CS), NZ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and the 12 nautical mile limit which defines NZ’s territorial waters.
Download print version [PDF: 1.1MB, 1 page]