Thursday, February 20: South Islanders will be bidding ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to Austrian oil and gas giant OMV, which has come up empty handed following a controversial deep sea drill in the Great South Basin.
Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, Amanda Larsson, says the news will be welcomed by people across the country who have grown increasingly concerned about OMV’s New Zealand drilling programme.
"This is fantastic news for the climate and for the precious wildlife that calls the Great South Basin home," she says.
"The communities along the Otago Coast and the threatened and endangered sea creatures that live there are now safe from further oil development."
The news comes just one month after OMV accidentally sawed off its own drill shaft, reportedly causing millions of dollars in damage.
In 2018, following a nationwide campaign that saw iwi, hapū, local councils, and hundreds of thousands of people oppose deep sea oil drilling, the New Zealand Government announced a ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration permits. The ban did not extend to existing permits, the majority of which are held by OMV.
Larsson says the news that OMV has failed to find oil and gas in the Great South Basin means the future of deep sea oil exploration in New Zealand is in doubt.
"As the world experiences the climate crisis intensifying with more devastating fires, floods and droughts, it’s been staggering to see OMV continue to search for more fossil fuels to burn. Today is a clear sign that this company’s time here is up," she says.
"Over the last decade, hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders have opposed deep sea oil drilling. In Otago, there has been sustained opposition to OMV’s Great South Basin drill programme from communities and local government alike.
"The increasingly unwelcome reception oil and gas companies are encountering here is testament to the power of all the people up and down the country who are demanding a better future for themselves, their children, and the natural world."
Late last year, nearly 30 protesters occupied OMV’s ‘henchboat’, the Skandi Atlantic, in the Port of Timaru for three days, delaying it from heading to a drill site. A week later, over a hundred people shut down OMV’s offices in New Plymouth for a further three days.
OMV is one of just 100 companies that have caused more than 70% of the world's carbon emissions since the 1980s. The company brought a 34,000 tonne oil rig to New Zealand to drill wells off the Taranaki and Otago coasts this summer.