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Govt awards permit to Deepwater Horizon company

11 December 2012

Govt awards permit to Deepwater Horizon company

The Government is gambling with our environment and economy by awarding deep sea drilling permits to a company partially responsible for the Gulf of Mexico disaster of 2010, said Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

Mr Hughes was responding to the awarding of the 2012 Block Offer oil and gas permits. Of the 12 offshore blocks in deep sea (greater than 200 meters deep) that the Government put up for tender, just four were awarded. Of these, the PEG1 and PEG2 permits in the Pegasus Basin were awarded to Anadarko New Zealand, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation which had a 25% stake in the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

“It’s outrageous that the Government awarded deep sea oil drilling permits to the very company that was partially responsible for the catastrophic Gulf of Mexico oil spill,” said Mr Hughes.

“How can Minister Heatley say that the Block Offer Awards were going to companies with the best environmental, health and safety records, when Anadarko was found to be partially liable for one of the most devastating oil spills the world has ever seen?” said Mr Hughes.

“Clearly the cozy relationship that Anadarko enjoys with the Government has paid off for the company, at the expense of the New Zealand public.”

Mr Hughes was referring to the secretive meeting John Key held with the Anadarko CEO during the busy election period last year.

“100% of Anadarko’s profits will go offshore, whereas the New Zealand public will pay dearly if anything goes wrong and we have a deep water oil spill,” said Mr Hughes.

Mr Hughes said the Government was continuing to let sustainable job opportunities pass New Zealand by while it created only a handful of short-lived jobs in the petroleum industry.

“To make sure that New Zealanders have good jobs, the Government should focus on retaining manufacturing jobs in New Zealand and growing the clean-tech sector,” said Mr Hughes.

“According to Statistics New Zealand, the mining sector, including oil and gas, employs just 3,000 people, whereas over the last four years, nearly 40,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost.

"We can create a smart, green economy by moving away from risky extractive activities like deep sea oil drilling, and towards renewable energy and clean-tech jobs,” said Mr Hughes.

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