Texan Oil Giant at Centre of Anti-Protest Legislation Quits NZ
Tuesday, November 28: Greenpeace says it’s time for the new Government to administer the coup de grâce to the oil industry after Texan oil giant, Anadarko, has pulled the plug on its New Zealand operations.
Subscription-only industry publication, Energy News, reported that Anadarko will surrender its final remaining permits held off the Canterbury Coast of New Zealand.
Greenpeace climate campaigner, Kate Simcock, says the move comes after years of protest, public pressure, iwi opposition and oil industry instability.
“There is no future in oil and it’s time for our new Government to dump oil exploration and drilling in New Zealand. We can’t afford to burn most of the fossil fuel reserves we know about if we’re to stabilise our climate – searching for more makes no sense,” she says.
“Jacinda Ardern says climate change is her generation’s nuclear free moment. If going nuclear free meant New Zealand standing up to the nuclear superpowers, then taking action on climate change needs to see us standing up to the fossil fuel corporations.
“Fossil fuel corporations have actively funded climate science denial and lobbied governments around the world to protect the industry at the expense of protecting people.”
In 2013, controversial legislation designed to stop protest against oil ships at sea, dubbed the ‘Anadarko Amendment’, was passed. This amendment to the Crown Minerals Act was rushed through over the Easter break without public notification, and followed years of protest and opposition to oil exploration in New Zealand.
At the time, Anadarko was preparing to search for oil off the Raglan coast. It’s the only company to actually do exploratory drilling in the deep sea over the past decade, and has never found any oil.
Simcock says the exit of Anadarko could be our symbolic line in the sand.
“We’d like Jacinda Ardern to know that thousands of people up and down the country, iwi, and local governments have her back when it comes to ending oil in New Zealand. Now is the time to be bold and brave,” she says.
Councils including Auckland, Christchurch City, Environment Canterbury, Dunedin, Kaikoura and Gisborne have all previously voted to oppose offshore oil exploration and drilling.
Over the weekend, the world’s largest seismic exploration ship arrived in New Zealand waters.
The 125-metre long Amazon Warrior, is owned by the world’s largest oilfield services company, Schlumberger, and plans to seismic blast for oil in the Taranaki Basin, right in the middle of blue whale habitat.
Simcock says the Government must turn the ship around.
Last summer the ship was also in New Zealand, and faced mass opposition as it searched for oil on behalf of Statoil, Chevron, and OMV off the Wairarapa Coast.
Thousands signed petitions, crowdfunded a boat to confront it at sea, and sent emails of complaint to Statoil and Chevron. East Coast iwi, Ngāti Kahungunu, sent their voyaging waka, Te Matau a Māui, to deliver a message on behalf of more than 80 hapū of Te Ikaroa.
In April, Greenpeace activists, including Executive Director Dr Russel Norman and volunteer Sara Howell, swam in front of the Amazon Warrior 60 nautical miles out to sea, stopping it from seismic blasting for the day.
The activists and Greenpeace were charged under the Anadarko Amendment for the first time in New Zealand history. They face a year in jail and up to $300,000 in collective fines.
They have pleaded Not Guilty and will face trial in April next year.