For the next 35 years, the company will be able to undertake to extract, produce and transport natural gas and condensate in and from the natural gas field.

The consent covers work at the company’s existing Maui Platform Alpha and Maui Platform Bravo and all associated structures and submarine pipelines.

EPA’s decision-making committee (DMC)concluded that the approval will comply with sustainable management purpose of the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf (Environmental Effects) Act.

However, environmental groups opposed the application raising concerns over potential oil spills.

The committee said that the Maui offshore facilities operations, including the proposed drilling program, will have negligible impact on the environment.

New Zealand Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges said: "The Maui field is New Zealand’s most successful offshore gas discovery and continues to make an important contribution to our economy and our energy security."

Bridges said that the field can continue to produce about a fifth of the country’s natural gas for at least 15 years.