After the protests at sea against the Brazilian oil giant Petrobras’ deep sea drilling exploits off the East Cape were so successful, the National Government made certain aspects of protest at sea illegal with the Anadarko Amendment to clear the way for the Texan oil giant Anadarko to have a crack.
We then showed how catastrophic a deep sea drilling blowout could be, and headed out to sea again with the Oil Free Seas Flotilla to confront Anadarko’s drillship for four days and nights at the deep sea drill-site West of Raglan.
And thousands of you then turned out for the Banners on the Beach protest against deep sea drilling.
But despite all the risks, and the obvious public opposition they drilled anyway (and found nothing).
We then asked you, our supporters, to help fund a High Court legal case to challenge the laws around deep sea drilling … and the response was an incredible $50,700.
That gave us the confidence and ability to go to court where we successfully showed that the laws around deep sea drilling are utterly inadequate. Even though Minister Simon Bridges had claimed Anadarko had been put “through the wringer”, the ‘Environmental Protection Agency’ (EPA) hadn’t even considered it necessary to look at Anadarko’s own risk assessment.
The court could not stop the drilling.
The judge awarded costs to the EPA and Anadarko because (according to this Government’s law), the drilling was “legal” despite this cowboy approach to oversight. So we are obliged to pay Anadarko $24,969 on top of other costs we incurred.
But before we make the payment, we’ve sent Anadarko a letter asking them a few questions: Seeing as they’re an offshore company, would it be easier for them if we made the payment directly to the Cayman Islands, where they are registered? Also, we’re just curious whether they might have set up this complex financial scheme in order to avoid liability in New Zealand, say in the case of a catastrophic oil spill like that of the Deepwater Horizon (which Anadarko was found jointly liable for by US Courts).
‘Anadarko NZ Taranaki’ is an overseas company whose country of origin is the Cayman Islands. It is registered at ‘Ugland House’, an address which is home to more than 12,000 companies, is linked to tax avoidance schemes, and which President Barack Obama called “either the biggest building in the world or the biggest tax scam in the world”. And Simon Bridges expects us to trust them. Make you mad? Join the call for Simon Bridges to be sacked from his position as Energy & Resources Minister.
Allan Seay of Anadarko failed to reply but he did respond to media enquiries saying:
"We pay the tax we are legally required to pay.
"Lots of companies do that. It's not unusual for companies to register in places where there may be advantages to doing so in that regard.
Yes there are [advantages]."
So we sent him another letter asking that he consider the disadvantages to the communities faced with dealing with the consequences of deep sea oil drilling, and suggested he forward our payment on to the victims of the Deepwater Horizon.
While Anadarko’s risky drilling found nothing this time, the threat of deep sea oil has not gone away. Even as you read this, Norwegian oil company Statoil is conducting seismic testing off Northland.
However, thanks to the the incredible generosity of you, our supporters, we live to fight another day.