Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


EDS dark on deepwater drilling regs; Anadarko plugs 1st well

EDS calls for deepwater drilling regs to be scrapped as Anadarko plugs first well

Feb. 4 (BusinessDesk) – The Environmental Defence Society is calling for the government to scrap its draft regulations governing deep sea oil exploration on the same day as Texan oil explorer Anadarko said it was plugging and abandoning the first of the two deepwater wells it’s drilling this summer.

While there were some oil and gas shows in the Romney-1 well, drilled in 1.5 kilometre deep waters off the Taranaki coast, Anadarko said the well was found to be water-bearing and “did not encounter commercial quantities of oil or natural gas.”

The well was drilled without incident to a depth of 4.6 kilometres and demonstrated that deepwater wells could be safely drilled in New Zealand waters, said Anadarko spokesman Alan Seay.

“We always learn an awful lot from unsuccessful wells. It will be useful to determine next steps,” said Seay.

The drill-ship Noble Bob Douglas will now head south to drill another deepwater well off the Canterbury coast in the Caravel prospect, and was expected to be ready to spud in by late next week.

Anadarko is conducting both wells under transitional arrangements ahead of the government setting regulations for oil and gas exploration in the country’s vast Exclusive Economic Zone, extending 200 kilometres out from shore.

Submissions on draft regulations closed at the end of last week, with EDS calling for the government to go back to the drawing board, as the proposals were “inadequate and weak”, with the intention to leave exploration wells as “non-notified” activities not requiring resource consent hearings creating unacceptable levels of environmental risk.

Instead, oil exploration should be treated as a notifiable, discretionary activity, rather than as currently proposed, both non-notifiable and permitted. The draft regulations envisage resource consent hearings only at the production well drilling stage, after commercially exploitable quantities of oil have been discovered.

“If we are to have oil and gas exploration in our deep oceans, we should have world class environmental oversight,” said EDS chairman Gary Taylor.

“The proposal to make exploration drilling non-notified leaves the environmental approvals process up to the Environmental Protection Authority with no public scrutiny, involvement or hearing. We are being asked by the EPA to ‘trust us – we know what we’re doing’.”

“This creates a real possibility of regulatory capture by the industry, one of the factors that a Presidential Inquiry found contributed to the Deepwater Horizons spill,” said Taylor, referring the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

“Regulatory capture is made even more likely by the fact that Ministers are acting as outspoken advocates for the sector in order, presumably, to counter pressure from interest groups that don’t want any oil and gas exploration.”

Taylor said the draft regulations were not based on any risk analysis of the threat from oil spills.

“Ministers are contending that there is a low probability of an oil spill. But risk is calculated by multiplying probability by consequences – and the consequences of a spill in New Zealand waters are enormous.”

“In order to make regulations under the EEZ Act, the Minister must have adequate information. In the absence of a proper risk assessment, we cannot see how this test can be met,” said Taylor.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Solid Energy: Plan To Shut Unprofitable Huntly East Mine

Solid Energy, the state-owned coal miner in voluntary administration, plans to shut down its unprofitable Huntly East mine and lay off 65 staff after deciding the site stands "no chance whatsoever" of finding a buyer. More>>


E Tū: Merger Creates NZ's Biggest Private Sector Union

E tū has been created by the merger of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union and Service and Food Workers’ Union. It represents more than 50,000 working New Zealanders in industries as diverse as aviation, construction, journalism, food manufacturing, mining and cleaning. More>>


Internet: NZ Govt Lifts Target Speeds For Rural Broadband

The government has lifted its expectations on faster broadband speeds for rural New Zealand as it targets increased spending on research and development in the country's information and communications technology sector, which it sees as a key driver for export growth. More>>


Banks: Westpac Keeps Core Government Transactions Contract

The local arm of Westpac Banking Corp has kept its contract with the New Zealand government to provide core transactions, but will have to share peripheral services with its rivals. More>>


Science Investment Plan: Universities Welcome Statement

Universities New Zealand has welcomed the National Statement of Science Investment released by the Government today... this is a critical document as it sets out the Government’s ten-year strategic direction that will guide future investment in New Zealand’s science system. More>>


Scouring: Cavalier Merger Would Extract 'Monopoly Rents' - Godfrey Hirst

A merger of Cavalier Wool Holdings and New Zealand Wool Services International's two wool scouring operations would create a monopoly, says carpet maker Godfrey Hirst. The Commerce Commission on Friday released its second draft determination on the merger, maintaining its view that the public benefits would outweigh the loss of competition. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news