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Consent applications for exploratory well not to be notified

Consent applications for exploratory well at Kanakanaia will not be publicly notified.

Gisborne District Council has decided that resource consent applications from TAG Oil Ltd and Apache Corporation NZ relating to a proposed exploratory well for on-shore petroleum resources will not require public notification, as the adverse effects are considered to be less than minor. This means that there will not be a submissions and hearings process for these applications. The site is at Kanakanaia Road, Te Karaka. The applications are for land use consent, discharge consents and permission to construct a bore.

The well drilling and testing is intended to take seven weeks. After completion of all activities associated with the drilling, all drilling equipment and materials waste, and buildings will be removed from the site. The well will be temporarily capped for use as a potential monitor well or for further drilling in the future. If the exploration well is not successful, or the well site is not required for further drilling, the site will be decommissioned and fully rehabilitated.

A thorough assessment of the proposal determined that the effects will be less than minor beyond the boundary of the site. External independent expert advice has been used to review the applications and an assessment of cultural effects on tangata whenua has also been carried out.

A full decision on the applications is expected in the next two weeks. Applications from the same companies for a similar exploratory well near Tararua have been approved without public notification by the Tararua District Council and Horizons Regional Council in February and March this year.

Council’s Group Manager Environment and Policy Hans van Kregten says that the current applications do not provide for the practice of hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’). “A new application for that practice would be required If hydraulic fracturing was to be used.” Mr van Kregten also said that if the exploratory well tests were successful, fresh consent applications would be required for any production of oil or gas.

More information about the application including the decision report, application documents and additional information requested to assist in the decision-making are available on Council’s website http://www.gdc.govt.nz/tag-oil-and-apache-corporation-resource-consent-application/

ENDS

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