Genesis Power and Contact Energy are still several months away from choosing a preferred site for a liquefied natural gas terminal.
The two big electricity companies announced in November that the importation of LNG to fuel their power stations was economic but they would not make a decision for at least two years.
But the companies are proceeding with selecting a preferred site for a terminal to receive the LNG and convert it to a gas for distribution through the North Island's gas pipe networks.
The choice has boiled down to Taranaki or Marsden Point, near Whangarei.
Genesis public affairs manager Richard Gordon said the two companies were still talking with various owners about potential sites for the terminal.
"We will choose a site in the near future. It could be three months to six months," Mr Gordon said.
After that, the two would start community consultation and build up the material required to apply for the appropriate resource consents for the terminal.
Application for resource consents was likely to be next year, Mr Gordon said.
Genesis is funding the drilling and development of the Cardiff gas prospect in Taranaki. The project is expected to provide gas supply for Genesis.
But Mr Gordon said even if the Cardiff field was shown to be as big as the Kupe field, Genesis would need more gas in the longer term. Kupe is estimated to have about 265 petajoules of gas.
If a similar amount of gas was shown to be available at Cardiff, that could put back the need to import lng by two years, Mr Gordon said.