Petrobras surrenders, ends its NZ drilling plans; campaigners see a victory

Press Release – Greenpeace New Zealand
Today’s announcement that Petrobras has pulled out of its deep sea oil drilling plans for New Zealand is a victory for Kiwis opposed to risky deep sea drilling, says Greenpeace.

A campaign by East Cape iwi Te Whanau a Apanui, Greenpeace and other groups against Petrobras’ exploration of the Raukumara Basin started early last year.

“The likelihood of oil from a deep sea blowout washing onto the beautiful beaches and coastline of the East Cape and Bay of Plenty just went down by 100 per cent,” says Greenpeace Climate Campaigner Simon Boxer.

“However you look at this, it really calls into question the Government’s petroleum plans. Not only is it an environmental and economic risk if it proceeds, but it is a serious economic gamble which depends on the whims and fortunes of foreign oil companies.

“This is yet another blow to Steven Joyce’s business growth strategy that is so intimately linked to the interests of overseas oil and mining companies. His policy is to play Russian roulette with our coastlines, beaches and our prosperity.

“Instead, a responsible Government would give its full support to our world-leading clean energy sector which will create local jobs and grow our economy without risking our beaches or increasing pollution.”

Home-grown Kiwi innovators can be the bedrock of the future clean smart economy by capturing some of the trillions of dollars being invested in the global clean technology sector. Last year, more money was invested around the world in clean energy generation than in fossil fuels (1).

The campaign against Petrobras’ drilling plans has included;
• An historic protest flotilla in April 2011 that harried Petrobras’ seismic testing off East Cape for 42 days and led to the arrest of local fisherman Elvis Teddy.
• A legal challenge in June 2012 by Te Whanau a Apanui and Greenpeace based on a Judicial Review of the Government’s issuing of the permit to Petrobras. The Judicial Review was unsuccessful and has been appealed.
• A petition (delivered to Parliament on 24 July, 2012) of over 140,000 New Zealanders calling on the Government to abandon its fossil fuels agenda, in favour of clean energy.

Notes to Editor:

(1) Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2012, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, UNEP. http://fs-unep-centre.org/sites/default/files/publications/globaltrendsreport2012final.pdf

Media release from Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment
MBIE has accepted international oil company Petrobras’ application to surrender its exploration permit for the Raukumara Basin. The Brazil-based company gained a permit in June 2010 to explore the basin off the East Coast of the North Island and during its exploration gathered 3,305 kilometres of 2D seismic data over the permitted area. Petrobras had an option to surrender the permit after gathering this information and has opted to take up this option.

“This is a commercial decision, based on a number of factors including how the company will be prioritising its oil and gas exploration portfolio worldwide,” MBIE Director Petroleum Kevin Rolens says. “The Raukumara Basin is considered to hold high potential for oil and gas development, and is an important frontier basin for future oil and gas exploration activity in New Zealand. It is a relatively unexplored area, where no commercial activity had previously been undertaken and I expect that the data will be of interest to other companies exploring in New Zealand.

“The work Petrobras has done has added to the information regarding the potential for oil and gas projects in the region and will be freely available for other companies wanting to explore.”

For more information visit New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals’ online exploration database at https://data.nzpam.govt.nz/GOLD/system/mainframe.asp.

 

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