Greenpeace closing down Statoil office now

Press release - December 10, 2014
Wellington, 10 December 2014 - This morning Greenpeace activists are barricading shut Statoil’s new Wellington office before the Norwegian oil giant has fully opened for business.

“We’re sending the company a clear message that New Zealanders don’t want Statoil here drilling for deep sea oil and putting our environment and economy at risk,” says Greenpeace New Zealand Chief Policy Adviser Nathan Argent.

Yesterday, the Government announced that 15 new onshore and offshore oil block offers had been awarded to companies including Statoil. At the same time a report released at the global climate talks in Peru shamed New Zealand for having a “poor” record on climate action.

Statoil’s New Zealand branch office is on the 21st floor of the Vodafone building in Lambton Quay. Activists are stopping entry by adding extra locks to the front door and boarding it up with planks and a sign reading ‘Go Home Statoil’. The sign, featuring Maori motifs, was designed by members of Northland iwi that are opposed to deep sea oil exploration off their coast.

On October 1 more than 1,000 people joined the Waiho Papa Moana Hikoi, organised by Northland iwi, when it reached Auckland to protest outside New Zealand Petroleum Summit against plans for deep sea oil drilling in the Reinga Basin. (1) About 19,000 Greenpeace supporters have emailed Statoil with the ‘go home’ message. (2) This morning activists are also delivering a letter to Statoil with that message and the list of supporters who have taken online action.

Two weeks ago seismic testing started in the basin as Statoil and other companies search the area for signs of oil where the water is between 1000 and 2000 metres deep.

“Evidence from marine scientists around the world suggests that seismic testing, which involves a ship firing off repeated underwater sound blasts 24/7, is bad for whales and dolphins,” says Argent.

A report (3) to the UK Department of Trade and Industry in 2007 shows the lethal range underwater for a large seismic array at seven metres and injury range of 53 metres.

 This week the Greenpeace-sponsored yacht SV Vega has taken an independent scientific crew into the Reinga Basin to monitor the impacts of seismic testing on marine mammals off the Northland coast.

“This is research the government failed to do before it started issuing permits to big oil companies like Statoil to come here.”

Last year Greenpeace released a computer oil spill modelling report www.oilspillmap.org.nz, carried out by data scientists using industry standard data showing a deep sea blowout could have devastating impacts on New Zealand's coastal waters and damage the economy.

Once this morning’s barricade of the Statoil office is finished activists plan to remove a sign featuring the company logo and will post it back to the head office in Norway.

Activists confirmed no one was inside the Wellington office before starting the barricade.


Ends


Notes to Editors:

Photos and video will be available later this morning for free download from: https://greenpeace.box.com/s/hejvh8syld6h4s8jc9of

1)      http://www.greenpeace.org/new-zealand/en/blog/waiho-papa-moana-hikoi/blog/50817/

2)      http://grnpc.org/statoil-email-action

3)      http://www.subacoustech.com/information/downloads/reports/565R0212.pdf

 

Contacts for more info:

Phil Crawford, Greenpeace NZ Communications & Media, 021 22 99 594

Nathan Argent, Greenpeace NZ Chief Policy Advisor, 021 971 234

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