With Texan cowboy, deep sea drillers Anadarko you have to expect a few leaks here and there - they were one of the companies behind the largest ever oil spill at sea after all.
The news this morning from their operation off Otago was a bit out of the ordinary though – there’s word of a leak... and people all around the country are crossing their fingers, hoping for confirmation?!
That's because this was not the oil-gushing-everywhere kind of leak. This time, someone on the inside has spilled the beans on Anadarko's failure to find oil off Otago.
The leaked information points to the well in the Canterbury Basin being empty. If this is the case, it'll be the second time this summer that Anadarko's drill ship, the Noble Bob Douglas, has come up with nothing after they failed to find anything worth pumping up off Raglan late last year. While Anadarko have the option of drilling yet another test well off Dunedin, it's now being reported that they are “unlikely” to take up this option.
Now that the question of whether they'd find anything seems to have been answered, we only have one big question left unanswered; why were they allowed to drill here in the first place?
Exploring for deep sea oil is seriously risky for our oceans and coastlines. Another huge risk though has been the Government putting our money behind this dirty industry. The National government have built their economic strategy on the untested foundations of unexplored deep sea oil and it seems like this gamble is now dead in the water.
Radio New Zealand reported this morning that the company the government have been relying on, our good friends Anadarko, have lost another $150 million with this dry well and this comes on top of their many other recent economic troubles. Sound like a safe bet to plan the economy of the country around?
With the National government's economic strategy so tightly bound up with risky deep sea oil, this failure for Anadarko is a failure for the government as a whole and ultimately, just serves to highlight how they've been failing the people of New Zealand for years.
Not only does risky deep sea oil threaten New Zealand's clean, green reputation (which 50% of jobs and 70% of exports rely on), not only is New Zealand missing out on the billions of dollars available from pursuing a clean energy economy but the government is directly subsidising the oil and gas industry with $46 million dollars of taxpayers money every year!
On Radio New Zealand this morning, Alan Seay the spokesperson for Anadarko in New Zealand, spoke about the failure to find oil and said that “disappointment is a constant companion in the oil industry”. You're completely right Alan.
Disappointment is a constant companion for the people of the Gulf of Mexico who are still dealing with the effects of Anadarko’s last big spill.
Disappointment is a constant companion for the millions of people around the world directly suffering from the corruption and pollution of the oil industry, and everyone else who is affected by climate change.
Disappointment is a constant companion for the people and businesses of New Zealand, who have to subsidise risky drilling and are missing out on the increased prosperity that investment in a clean energy economy would bring.
If today's leak is confirmed though, the disappointment is definitely going to be greatest for Anadarko and the National government who are going to find their economic plans, like their empty wells, very much in deep water.