Greenpeace has launched the first of a series of national training workshops to prepare for the arrival of oil giant, OMV.

The environmental organisation is running the training this weekend with world class climbers and boat crew, and has invited members of the public to join in.

The training is being held off the coast of Dunedin in Port Chalmers from the Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior, which is currently in New Zealand for a national tour. Climbers and a boat team are practicing a series of drills including boarding a ship at sea, climbing a ship, and deploying a banner.

Members of the public have also been invited to join a mobilisation training and to welcome the Rainbow Warrior into Port Chalmers in kayaks this afternoon.

Austrian oil company, OMV, has been aggressively expanding its operations off the coast of New Zealand, quickly making it one of the country’s biggest oil players.

Greenpeace climate campaigner, Kate Simcock, says the company now owns shares in permits in all three of the last remaining offshore regions of New Zealand still open to oil exploration and drilling.

“Although New Zealand made the globally celebrated move in April to ban new oil and gas exploration permits, this does not extend to existing permits,” she says.

“Vast areas of offshore Taranaki, Wairarapa, and the Great South Basin could still be exploited for oil and gas reserves, and OMV has acquired permits to search for fossil fuels in every one of those regions.”

The Great South Basin, off the coast of Dunedin, is the company’s next target, and it has a commitment to drill there by July next year. However, an Official Information Act request has revealed that the company is asking for more time to drill.

In response, Greenpeace has launched a petition demanding that Energy Minister Megan Woods reject this application. The company also has plans to drill 12 new offshore wells in Taranaki, starting next year.

The first Greenpeace training against OMV comes on the back of a cornerstone report released this week by the world authority on global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The report made waves around the world after it revealed we only have around a decade to cut carbon emissions in half, or face catastrophic climate change that will affect tens of millions of people and destroy many of the world’s ecosystems.

Simcock says OMV is one of 100 global corporations responsible for over 70% of the world’s climate pollution since 1988.

“OMV makes profit from a business that’s systematically destroying our environment, killing and displacing millions of people. It’s knowingly causing climate change, which is morally corrupt. OMV must be stopped,” she says.

“As well as impacts on the climate, the oil exploration permits OMV holds here lie in some of New Zealand’s most wild and pristine seas, close to Māui dolphin habitat, breeding and foraging grounds for Blue Whales and Southern Right Whales, and in the remote Great South Basin. “

A map released by Greenpeace earlier this week details the extent of OMV’s interests and the proximity of its exploration permits to marine habitats.

Greenpeace will continue to run mobilisation and action trainings at different locations around the country in anticipation of the arrival of OMV next year.