Auckland, 11 December, 2012 – The Government should drop its deep sea oil programme as a failed economic strategy following low interest in its permits to drill in deep water around New Zealand, says Greenpeace.
Today’s announcement that there were only three applications for the 11 permits for deep sea drilling comes just a week after the Brazilian oil giant Petrobras pulled out of drilling in the Raukumara Basin off the East Cape.
Significantly, there are no new overseas companies which shows New Zealand is not regarded by the international oil industry as a prime destination, says Greenpeace New Zealand Climate Campaigner Simon Boxer.
“The lack of interest in the permits is a very strong signal that the Government’s deep sea oil programme is not the economic boom that was promised.”
Of the three permits awarded two are at extreme depths of over 2700 metres off the coast of Kaikoura and Wellington. This is nearly twice as deep as the Deepwater Horizon disaster site in the Gulf of Mexico.
"One of New Zealand's most iconic regions - the Kaikoura coast, world famous for its whale and dolphin watching - is now right in the spill zone for a deep sea oil blow-out. Other potential regions hit by a Pegasus basin disaster would be the intricate coasts of the Marlborough Sounds and the Cook Strait and Wellington coasts and beaches."
So far the Deepwater Horizon oil blow-out has cost the US economy over $40 billion and led to an area twice the size of New Zealand’s North Island being closed to fishing due to pollution risks to seafood. Such an impact on New Zealand’s fishing and tourism industries would cripple the country and destroy the country’s clean and green international reputation.
“The Government should drop this risky programme and 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,” says 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.
“Even the Government and oil industry association admitted last week that there were big shifts in the global markets and that our reserves were a challenge to get to, reducing further the chance of any economic benefit to the country.”
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).
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