Natural gas production continues to decline

Published: 13 June 2024

New Zealand’s natural gas production continues to decline according to the latest Energy Quarterly data released today by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

“Natural gas net production for the quarter was 31.89 PJ, a 12% decrease on March 2023 and the lowest quarterly net production since March 1985,” says Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Markets Manager Mike Hayward.

 “A planned outage at Pohokura gas field for maintenance in March added to the steady long-term decrease in gas production. The trend is expected to continue into Quarter 2 with Kapuni gas field going offline for planned maintenance in April.

“Reduced natural gas production had a direct impact on consumption with a 33% drop in non-energy use compared with March 2023 quarter, and a 31% decrease in energy use in the chemical sector. Driving this fall was Methanex, one of the largest users of gas in New Zealand reducing its production of methanol in response to less available gas supply,” says Mike Hayward.

Although the gas-fired Huntly Unit 5 returned to service earlier than scheduled following an unscheduled outage, the lower gas supply led to the need for coal-fired electricity generation to meet demand.

“Following a dryer summer and below normal rainfall, generation from gas and coal was needed to meet demand for electricity. Compared to the same quarter last year there was a 99% increase in coal for electricity generation,” says Mike Hayward.

As the share of renewable energy generation decreased, greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation increased to 861 kt CO2-e, a 21.5% increase compared with the March 2023 quarter.

  • New solar and wind electricity generation helped offset a 3.2% drop in hydro generation to keep the share of renewable energy high at 85.7% for the past quarter. 
  • New capacity from Rangitaiki Solar Farm helped boost solar generation to 145 GWh, a 51.2% increase from March 2023.
  • Full commissioning of Turitea Wind Farm helped to increase wind generation with 920 GWh produced, a 43.4% increase.

Alongside Energy Quarterly, MBIE is also releasing its regular Oil and Gas statistics, current to April 2024. MBIE will be releasing New Zealand’s oil and gas reserved data as of January 2024 on 11 July 2024.

Gas statistics

Oil statistics

Visit the Energy Quarterly webpage for more insights

MBIE media contact