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Oil company Tamarind Resources has reportedly halted drilling at its Tui oil field off the Taranaki coast after the first of the three planned wells came up dry and bad weather caused delays.

The company is preparing to demobilise the rig – the COSL Prospector, according to an emailed statement reported by BusinessDesk.

Tamarind had expected to spend about 135 days drilling three side-track wells at Tui – Tui-3H, Amokura-2H and then Pateke-4H but the programme suffered from adverse weather conditions in July and August, which contributed to almost a month of delay.

Now Greenpeace is calling on OMV to cancel its plans to use the same rig for new high-risk oil and gas exploration in Taranaki and the Great South Basin this summer. The organisation has been training hundreds of people in the art of peaceful civil disobedience and has told OMV to expect resistance if the company continues with its plans.

“The COSL prospector is a near new, supposedly state of the art, oil drilling platform brought here all the way from Norway to start OMV’s oil exploration in Taranaki and the Great South Basin. If it’s already struggling to cope with Taranaki’s windy conditions, people should be very worried about what may happen in the wild Great South Basin,” said Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, Amanda Larsson.

“The Great South Basin off the Otago coast is exposed to large Southern Ocean swells and harsh weather systems.

“A Deepwater Horizon-scale oil spill here would be utterly catastrophic. Nobody wants to see oil spilling onto New Zealand’s beaches and causing our precious wildlife to suffer. It’s just not worth the risk.

“We’re in a climate emergency driven by fossil fuels, so looking for new oil makes no sense whatsoever. Climate change, and the polluting companies that are causing it, is putting our wellbeing at risk. We’re seeing more storms, floods and droughts that are threatening coastal communities, food security and health,” Larsson added.

“Rather than digging deeper for outdated fuels we can’t afford to burn, oil companies like OMV should be investing in the clean energy we need to power our future.

“Let’s use the wind that obstructed Tamarind’s oil extraction efforts to power an offshore wind farm in Taranaki to generate safe, clean renewable energy,” said Larsson.

“Offshore wind requires similar skills to the offshore oil and gas industry, providing great jobs potential in a region already equipped with a skilled offshore workforce.

“Investing in offshore wind development in Taranaki would be a great way for OMV to support the region and its workers, instead of endangering all our futures with their relentless search for climate-wrecking oil.”


Images of the COSL Prospector, free for use: