The Watchdog

Keeping citizens in the loop

Greens tell Key: Don’t drill it if you can’t plug it

11 April 2011

Who will benefit from deep sea oil drilling – where will the money go?

When did the NZ public have a say on whether or not WE wanted deep sea oil drilling?

“Don’t drill it if you can’t plug it” – EXACTLY.


Greens tell Key: Don’t drill it if you can’t plug it

Published: 9:21AM Monday April 11, 2011 Source: ONE New

The Greens say oil exploration in deep water areas should not be allowed until the oil industry can prove it can plug accidental oil leaks.

It comes after Greenpeace protesters swam in front of a Petrobras ship which was conducting a survey of the seabed in the Raukumara Basin yesterday.

Prime Minister John Key aired his disappointment at the protesters’ actions on TV ONE’s Breakfast this morning.

“We have issued Petrobras a five year licence for exploratory work to see if there’s oil and gas there, they have a legal right to do that. They should be allowed to go and do that,” he said.

But Green MP David Clendon said it is reckless for the government to start a drilling programme if the oil companies do not know how to plug a deep sea well.

“John Key stated this morning that he believes the government can manage the environmental risks of deep sea oil drilling. The Prime Minister should share with us the basis of that belief,” said Clendon.

“What clever technology or response plan does John Key know about that no-one else has heard of?”

Clendon said the Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico last year showed the industry had not solved the environmental and safety issues involved with deep-sea oil exploration.

Petrobras ship the Orient Explorer began exploring last week for oil and gas in a 12,000 square kilometre area in the Raukumara Basin off East Cape.


Greenpeace said it had asked the captain of the Orient Explorer six days ago to cease surveying activity and leave.

Climate campaigner Steve Abel said the government is endangering the coastline, marine environment and climate when they could be leading the way to a future with clean fuels and energy technology.

But Key said there will be careful consideration given to any future developments.

“No-one’s arguing that there aren’t environmental issues to consider,” he said

“But at the end of the day this is early days and we want New Zealanders to have better jobs and incomes and there’s a real opportunity here.”

Economic sabotage

The Petroleum Exploration and Production Association said the actions amounted to economic sabotage and is calling on the government to intervene.

Executive officer John Pfahlert said the police or navy should be used to ensure the protesters are not able to further disrupt the work.

“While Greenpeace have the right to express their view they don’t have the right to prevent others from exercising their rights,” he said.

“If the company is unable to continue its survey because of these protest actions, this will send a signal to potential overseas investors that New Zealand is a risky place to do business.

“While that will no doubt be welcomed by the protesters, New Zealand will be the poorer as a result.”

He said Petrobras was given permission by the New Zealand government to search for oil and gas, and it was simply exercising its legal right to carry out the work.

April 11, 2011 - Posted by | Fighting corruption in NZ, Internationally significant information

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