OMV, I demand that you stop oil and gas exploration in New Zealand, and give up your drilling permits here immediately.

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The Government has today released a draft 10-year Minerals and Petroleum Resource Strategy which will be used to inform a review of the Crown Minerals Act 1991.

Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, Amanda Larsson, has reacted with disappointment, saying that the strategy is utterly inadequate given the climate crisis playing out around the world.

“We’re in the middle of a climate emergency. The Amazon and the Arctic are on fire and MBIE is effectively throwing petroleum into the flames with this status quo strategy,” she says.

“Burning oil, gas and coal is the major driver of climate change. The latest science says we already have more oil and gas in productive fields than we can afford to burn.

“Instead of providing a pathway for New Zealand to urgently wind down extraction of these polluting fuels, the strategy suggests that oil and gas production could continue here for up to 50+ years.”

Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released an alarming report, which called on governments to halve global carbon emissions by 2030 and bring them to net zero in the next 30 years.

“An appropriate response to the climate emergency would include a commitment to immediately end new fossil fuel exploration on land and at sea, alongside a timeline for rapidly winding down the coal, oil and gas industries,” says Larsson.

Last year, the Government announced a ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration permits in response to a decade of public pressure. However, a decision was made not to revoke permits released before the ban.

One of those permit holders, Austrian oil company OMV, will begin exploratory oil and gas drilling off the coasts of Taranaki and Dunedin this summer. It’s the first time exploratory drilling has taken place in New Zealand in more than five years.

“OMV will be drilling in previously untouched areas of ocean which are home to threatened and endangered marine wildlife. If OMV find new oil and gas this summer, it will be a disaster for the climate,” says Larsson.

The Draft Minerals and Petroleum Resource Strategy is open for public consultation until 20 September.