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Petroleum Conference Protest Disappointing but Expected

Petroleum Conference Protest Disappointing but Expected

The Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ) says it is disappointed protestors are attempting to disrupt the 2017 New Zealand Petroleum Conference, but their actions were not unexpected and had been planned for.

PEPANZ Chief Executive Cameron Madgwick says the annual Petroleum Conference, which opened in New Plymouth today, has always attracted protest action and event organisers have worked closely with the New Plymouth District Council and the Police in the lead up to the event.

"While the protest action was expected, it is still disappointing. We want to use the Conference to celebrate Taranaki’s oil and gas industry and the incredible contribution it has made to the region, rather than it being targeted by protestors to cause disruption to the community," says Mr Madgwick.

"While we absolutely respect the rights of protestors to peacefully and lawfully undertake protest action, this action must be kept reasonable. We expect protestors to respect the rights of our delegates to attend the Conference and be mindful of the impact their actions are causing to the people of New Plymouth."

Mr Madgwick says PEPANZ had invited Greenpeace to attend the conference, but they declined.

"Instead of attending the Conference and talking directly to those involved in the industry about their concerns, Greenpeace would seem to be more interested in creating headlines by shouting on the streets.

"While this is their prerogative, it doesn’t actually help solve the problem.

"Climate change is a serious issue and it requires governments, energy companies, NGOs and environmentalists to work constructively together to develop solutions.

"The reality is that oil and gas make up half of the world’s energy supply and will continue to play an important role in the world’s energy mix for decades to come.

"Despite what some fringe environmental groups may claim, we simply cannot switch off fossil fuels overnight.

"And while renewables will continue to grow, we are still going to need oil and gas to move people and goods, heat our homes, cook our food and create a huge range of essential goods - from fertilisers to medical supplies.

"We do, however, need to think about how we can use fossil fuels more efficiently, with lower emissions, and how we meet an ever-increasing demand for energy.

"Around the world, energy companies are changing the way they operate to respond to climate change, including investing in and testing technology to capture carbon emissions and store it.

"These are the sort of things that we will be discussing over the next couple of days in New Plymouth," says Madgwick.

"And while we would have welcomed Greenpeace to have joined us, New Zealanders can listen to the presentations on the Conference website"


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