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Unwanted Statoil Oil Exploration Begins Off Northland

Statoil Oil Exploration Begins Off Northland and is Not Wanted

Sunday 8 June 2014: Only a week after Greenpeace targeted a Statoil rig heading to the Artic, the Norwegian oil giant has begun oil exploration research off Northland. Statoil has contracted NIWA research vessel Tangaroa after $24 million of taxpayer money was used to upgrade technology onboard to carry out oil exploration.

Beyond the horizon of the stunning coastline of Kaipara, Hokianga, Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē /90 Mile Beach and Te Rerenga Wairua/Cape Reinga, research vessel Tangaroa is currently carrying out the initial stages of oil exploration. This coastline would be the most affected if there was an oil spill.

“We don’t want any deep sea oil exploration or drilling off Northland, or any of our coastlines", said Greenpeace Climate and Energy campaigner Mike Smith. "An oil spill would be a catastrophe for the environment, our livelihoods and the economy. Government should be investing in New Zealand's multi-billion dollar clean energy and innovation sectors not in foreign oil drilling."

“There is always the risk of an oil spill with drilling and the certainty of fuelling climate change when the oil is burnt. Statoil need to get out of the Arctic and get out of New Zealand.”

Last December, Statoil was granted a 15-year exploration permit for the deep sea Northland Basin. The permit zone is off the west coast of Northland, between Maunganui Bluff near Dargaville to Te Rerenga Wairua/Cape Reinga in the north. The exploration permit covers 10,000 square kilometres of seabed. The drilling phase will see seabed between 1,000 and 2,000 meters below the ocean surface targeted.

Last week Greenpeace International activists from eight countries scaled a Statoil contracted oil rig to protest the company’s plans to drill the northernmost well in the Norwegian Arctic, close to the Bear Island nature reserve.

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