Story: Oil and gas

Kāpuni 1 well

Kāpuni 1 well

The drilling crew of the Kāpuni 1 well stands around the well head in Taranaki farmland in 1959. This was New Zealand’s first substantial petroleum find. At a depth of 3,912 metres, an exploration well (known as a wildcat) struck high-pressure gas. Overland pipelines were built to Wellington and Auckland, and 10 years after the discovery, production began from the Kāpuni field. The Kāpuni discovery transformed New Zealand’s petroleum business from a cottage industry to a nationally significant energy provider.

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Private collection, George Cawsey

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How to cite this page:

Roger Gregg and Carl Walrond, 'Oil and gas - Early petroleum exploration, 1865–1960', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 27 May 2024)

Story by Roger Gregg and Carl Walrond, published 12 Jun 2006