Wheels coming off Govt’s deep sea oil plans
Auckland, 17 July, 2011 - Greenpeace is heralding the pulling of the Northland and Rienga blocks as another success in the nationwide campaign to ensure deep sea oil drilling does not occur in New Zealand waters.
Greenpeace received confirmation from the Ministry of Economic Development late Friday evening that here will be no oil exploration permits issued for the Northland and Reinga blocks.
“These blocks were touted as the jewels in the crown of New Zealand’s oil prospects and yet not a single permit has been issued across the dozen blocks covering 150,000 square kilometres of Northland’s coastal and offshore waters,” says Greenpeace New Zealand climate campaigner Steve Abel.
Acting Energy and Resources Minister Hekia Parata stated only a few weeks ago that the announcement of permit awards was imminent.
“Either the industry has lost its mettle or the Government has. Whichever one, the wheels are coming of Brownlee’s grand oil plans,” says Abel.
“We suspect that public pressure has lead to both industry reticence and the Government pulling the blocks in the full knowledge that there is as much community opposition to high risk deep-sea oil drilling off Northland’s precious coastline as there is to drilling in the East Cape and Golden Bay.”
Greenpeace pursued MED for more information on Friday after spotting the posting of an opaque statement buried on the MED website on Friday morning.
The most recent statement emailed to Greenpeace reads, “New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals completed its block offer process for the Reinga and Northland basins. This process did not result in an award of a permit, despite a high level of technical interest from investors at an early stage in the process”.
“The Government needs to urgently re-think its economic development strategies and invest in clean, locally produced energy solutions that provide more jobs per dollar invested and better economic security. The Government should not be at loggerheads with local communities which are fighting to stop the risk of oil washing up on their beaches,” says Abel.
Notes to Editor:
• Seismic testing in the Raukumara basin by Brazilian oil giant Petrobras is apparently finished weeks ahead of schedule after a 42 day flotilla protest in April and May.
• Grey Wolf withdraws its application (in June) for permits to mine and drill in Marlborough’s Golden Bay region citing strong public outrage at the plans as the reason.
• Deep sea exploratory drilling in the Canterbury basin by Texan oil company Anadarko that was expecting to be occurring early in summer this year appears to be delayed according to industry media reports.
• The long anticipated announcement of permits for the Northland and Reinga blocks is dropped in place of a quiet web posting on 15 July of a statement that no permits are to be issued for any of the dozen blocks.