Greenpeace calls for post-election deal to reject “monstrous” new offshore oil project

Press release - October 3, 2017
Greenpeace has made an urgent call for parties engaged in post-election coalition negotiations to rule out an oil prospecting application, which if approved, could see one of the largest 3D seismic blasting surveys that has taken place in the Taranaki Basin (1).

The world’s largest oilfield survey company, Schlumberger, has applied to search for oil across almost 19,000 square-kilometres of the Taranaki Basin, including in and around the critically endangered Māui dolphin and Blue Whale habitat.

As well as harming whales and dolphins, a recent study published by science journal Nature, shows seismic blasting for oil has devastating effects on the most critical ocean lifeform, zooplankton, with “enormous implications for ocean ecosystem structure and health”.

Schlumberger will sell the information it gathers to oil companies, including Austrian oil giant OMV, which has recently been searching for controversial Arctic oil.

Greenpeace New Zealand climate campaigner, Kate Simcock, says if the political parties involved in the coalition negotiations really are serious about the environment, then they need to take a stand against “reckless” oil exploration like this.

“Many have called the 2017 General Election the ‘Environment Election’. Climate, conservation, and rivers were at the front and centre of the election campaign,” she says.

“All four of the parties involved in the negotiations to form a government pledged to improve New Zealand’s environmental performance. Now is the time to prove that they will take a moral stand when it matters most.

“This Schlumberger survey is absolutely monstrous. It comes at a time when we know beyond doubt that we can’t afford to burn most of the fossil fuel reserves we know about if we want to avoid climate catastrophe, let alone search for more.

“Our future leaders can no longer feign ignorance. Ending new oil exploration in New Zealand is the most basic first step you can take if you’re serious about taking climate action.

“Companies like OMV and Statoil are almost single handedly responsible for what’s happening to our climate. They're named in the list of only 100 companies in the world that are causing 71% of global emissions.”

Earlier this year, Schlumberger brought the world’s biggest ship, the Amazon Warrior, to seismic blast off the Wairarapa Coast over a seven month period for oil companies including Statoil and OMV.

In April, Greenpeace activists including Executive Director, Dr Russel Norman, put themselves in the water in front of the ship 60 nautical miles out to sea, stopping it from seismic blasting for the day.

The activists and Greenpeace were charged by the oil division of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE), under the 2013 Amendment to the Crown Minerals Act, dubbed the 'Anadarko Amendment'.

They have pleaded Not Guilty and are due to next appear in the Napier District Court this Thursday, October 5.



(1) Industry news publication Energy News reported on 02/10/2017 that one of the largest single 3D surveys ever carried out within the petroleum producing Taranaki Basin could be completed if Schlumberger New Zealand's new permit is approved. The firm has applied to conduct a large-scale off-shore seismic survey covering 18,843 square-kilometres, including in the Taranaki Basin.