Shell study backs Greenpeace in oil spill row

Press release - October 25, 2013
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has just released the results of shallow water oil spill modelling (1) by Shell Todd Oil for Taranaki on their website.

Their blowout scenario is modelled on a spill of 10,000 barrels a day for 106 days.

There has been criticism of the parameters used in the spill modelling report produced by data scientists Dumpark for Greenpeace of 10,000 barrels a day for 76 days, with the industry and government describing the report as “scaremongering”.

But as Shell’s release shows, the Greenpeace report has used industry standard parameters.

Greenpeace Campaigner Steve Abel said “This modelling proves that our scenario was realistic and consistent with the industry standard. We again challenge Texan oil driller Anadarko to release their oil spill modelling showing the potential impact a deep-sea oil spill could have on New Zealand.”

The Greenpeace report shows the possible blowout effects of two planned deep-sea drilling locations off the West Coast of the North Island and the East Coast of the South Island. The deepest current production well in New Zealand is 125 meters. Texan oil driller Anadarko is scheduled to begin the first deep-sea drilling (at 1500 meters) this summer off Auckland’s West Coast. Greenpeace’s model for the north shows the likelihood of oil hitting Auckland’s iconic West Coast beaches and harbours. In the south, a spill off the coast of Otago could spread across the Chatham Rise - a vital commercial fishing ground and marine wildlife habitat - reaching all the way to the Chatham Islands.

Spill modelling reports are a permitting requirement for oil drilling, however Anadarko’s full and detailed data of deep-sea oil spill modelling reports have not yet been made publicly available on the EPA website or by Maritime New Zealand (2).



(2) According to Anadarko’s Environmental Impact Assessment document September 2013, Page 117: MetOcean Solutions Limited was contracted to undertake an oil spill trajectory model study to determine the fate, timing and potential of coastal beaching in the unlikely event of a loss of well control.  This oil spill trajectory study was undertaken as part of the DMP [discharge management plan] required under part 200 which Anadarko has submitted to Maritime NZ for approval (see DMP Annex D).

For more information
Steve Abel, energy campaigner, Greenpeace: +64 21 927301
Ana Mules, communications officer, Greenpeace: +64 21 2609186
Niall Bennett, head of communications, Greenpeace: +64 22 1831740