In New Zealand, a moratorium on petroleum exploration licensing was in effect throughout 1985. Nine licenses were relinquished and the boundaries of 3 others were changed. Seismic surveying activity was greatly reduced, with 960 km shot offshore and 780 km shot onshore. Drilling continued at a high rate, with 25 wells drilled, 5 offshore and 20 onshore. Total meterage exceeded 41,000 m. Although there were good indications of hydrocarbons, no major discoveries were made. At the end of 1985, the government lifted the licensing moratorium with the announcement of an offer of 50 blocks in the offshore Taranaki basin. The awarding of new licenses will still be judged on the basis of work program, although some new government financial measures have been introduced. Total petroleum production figures for New Zealand were 3,802 million m3 of gas, 1,095 thousand m3 of condensate, and 452 thousand m3 of oil. The entire production is from fields in the Taranaki basin. In 1985, production of synthetic gasoline began at the Motunui synfuels plant using Maui and Kapuni gas and condensate as feedstock.
Tonga introduced new petroleum legislation and is offering license blocks for exploration.
No activity was reported from Fiji, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands.
License holdings in Papua New Guinea increased 78.3% to 16 petroleum prospecting licenses with a total of 1,894 blocks. Seismic surveys amounted to 1,500 km on land and 500 km offshore in 1985, after virtually no seismic in 1984. Drilling was up 23.9%. Juha field was confirmed with a second extension well (Juha-3X), and a new oil and gas discovery (Iagifu-2X) was made in another anticline of the Papuan foldbelt in April 1986.