EPA grants marine consent for STOS exploration drilling
EPA grants marine consent for STOS exploration drilling operations
The Environmental Protection Authority has granted a marine consent to Shell Todd Oil Services Ltd (STOS) to continue its exploratory drilling operation at the Ruru-2 and Māui-8 exploration well sites within the South Taranaki Bight.
It is the second marine consent application to be approved by the EPA under the non-notified provisions of the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf Act (EEZ Act). The EPA recently approved an application by OMV New Zealand for its Whio-1 exploration well in the Taranaki Basin.
An EPA Decision-making Committee (DMC) approved the application by STOS with a set of conditions to manage any adverse effects to the environment and existing interests. The conditions will be monitored and enforced by the EPA.
Both wells will be drilled from a semi-submersible drilling vessel called the Kan Tan IV (KTIV). Ruru-2 will be drilled to a depth of 5183 metres below the seabed in 108 m of water, and Māui-8 will be drilled to a depth of 3370 m below the seabed in 105 m of water.
EPA General Manager Applications and Assessment Sarah Gardner said the conditions included a range of requirements including the need for STOS to undertake and report on its post-drill monitoring for three years.
“The DMC has specified that such monitoring should be undertaken until the results confirm that the benthic environment has recovered to pre-drill (baseline) conditions.”
The DMC comprised Jane Jones (Chair), Gillian Wratt (EPA Board Member), Gerda Kuschel and David Binnie.
The decision can be viewed on the EPA website at http://www.epa.govt.nz/EEZ/applications_EEZ/Non-notified_consents/STOS/Pages/default.aspx