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Industry Urges Caution for Protestors near Seismic Vessel

1 April 2011

Industry Urges Caution for Protestors near Seismic Vessel

The Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of NZ (Pepanz) said today that the flotilla about to arrive on the East Cape on Sunday to protest the commencement of a seismic survey should stay well clear of the vessel during operations.

Executive Officer of the Association, John Pfahlert said that while the vessel would be operating a long way from shore it posed real risks to protestors if they attempted to disrupt it operating, or board the vessel.

“The ship conducting the survey, the 3D Orient Explorer, is 85 meters long and weighs 3500 tonnes. The seismic array it is towing extends 10 km behind the ship. This is not the sort of vessel that can easily manoeuvre to avoid protest vessels that attempt to get in its way or stray to close” said Mr Pfahlert.

“Protest vessels need to stay a healthy distance to ensure the safety of their vessels and crews and the crew of the 3D Orient Explorer”.

Mr Pfahlert said that irrespective of what action the government might take to address protestor’s concerns regarding rights of public participation in the process, the process of environmental assessment, or how stringent it made the new laws – he said those currently protesting were against all forms of fossil fuel development.

“It’s up to the Government to make progress on fixing this issue. Industry is ready to engage in a dialogue when the Government makes it a priority.

However, there is in fact little common ground for a constructive dialogue with people who hanker for a world without fossil fuels and oppose all fossil fuel related energy development in New Zealand.

In our view it is better to have responsible development of fossil fuels from New Zealand with our excellent track record of environmental management, rather than relying on fossil fuel production from nations where the same standards are not enforced” said Mr Pfahlert.

The Petroleum industry contributed over $1b to Government coffers in the last financial year.

ENDS

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