Gold award for new exploration industry web portal - 01/06/2012

An innovative information web portal that helps oil exploration companies in their search for oil and gas in New Zealand has won GNS Science the Discovering Gold category in the 2012 Wellington Gold Awards.

The award was for the Petroleum Exploration Geoscience Initiative (PEGI) project, which was jointly funded by New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals and GNS Science.

The 'vehicle' for bringing the information to the oil exploration industry and researchers is a website portal called Petroleum Basin Explorer (PBE): http://data.gns.cri.nz/pbe

About 60 staff from GNS Science were involved in compiling the information and developing the new web portal.

Members of the team from GNS Science that developed the Petroleum Basin Explorer website portal that provides quick access to a huge range of scientific information to help in the search for oil and gas resources. Photo: Margaret Low

Members of the team from GNS Science that developed the Petroleum Basin Explorer website portal that provides quick access to a huge range of scientific information to help in the search for oil and gas resources. Photo: Margaret Low

The PBE portal gives easy access to a large number of interactive map tools that enable the user to discover a vast amount of exploration data on New Zealand's sedimentary basins and petroleum systems.

Much of this information was either hard to obtain or not available before the advent of Petroleum Basin Explorer, which went live in April 2012.

Using PBE, an exploration company manager in the Northern Hemisphere and get instant online access to a huge amount of information that might have taken weeks, or even months, to compile before 2012.

“This initiative represents a giant leap forward in delivering technical and scientific information on New Zealand’s petroleum resources to the exploration industry,” said the chief executive of GNS Science, Alex Malahoff.

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“Increased exploration activity will markedly improve the chances of significant petroleum discoveries on our doorstep. Big discoveries could potentially be worth trillions of dollars and development of such discoveries would have a strongly positive effect on our standard of living.”

Dr Malahoff

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“Providing easily accessible value-added information about New Zealand’s onshore and offshore petroleum basins will increase the attractiveness of investing in exploration for local and overseas companies,” Dr Malahoff said.

The initiative was designed to reduce the financial risks associated with exploration and it would help significantly to reduce the time and cost needed before an exploration company decided to commit to exploration.

“The new web portal integrates oil industry and research data to a level that has not been achieved before. In some cases, it provides access to information that the oil industry may not have been aware of.”

Dr Malahoff said an oil company coming to New Zealand to explore for petroleum could use the new portal and search out a huge range of information compiled from many sources over the last 40 years.

As well as helping to attract new exploration companies to New Zealand, the initiative would also help those already operating here.

“Increased exploration activity will markedly improve the chances of significant petroleum discoveries on our doorstep. Big discoveries could potentially be worth trillions of dollars and development of such discoveries would have a strongly positive effect on our standard of living.”

The Discovering Gold category of the Wellington Gold Awards recognises achievement in research and development, and turning this into a product or service that is commercially successful and/or benefits the New Zealand economy.

The Petroleum Basin Explorer portal provides access to a huge range of information on New Zealand's sedimentary basins.

The Petroleum Basin Explorer portal provides access to a huge range of information on New Zealand's sedimentary basins.