No say for exploratory deep sea drilling

This week the Government announced plans to shut the public out from having a say on applications for the same activity that caused the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico: exploratory deep sea oil drilling.

Deep sea drilling should be a prohibited activity given that, if there is a leak from a deep sea oil rig, the consequences for New Zealand’s environment, economy and reputation would be catastrophic.

But if the Government is going to recklessly consider applications for this risky activity, then at the very least the public should have a say on each and every application.

I put it to the Government in Question Time this week that exploratory drilling is the riskiest phase of oil production, and can lead to horrendous accidents.

A lot of you are justifiably angry about the Government’s proposal to remove your ability to oppose its risky deep sea oil drilling plans. If you are wondering what steps to take next, the Kiwi Bid is something you can take part in right away.

You might be thinking: what’s the deal with the Kiwi Bid?

Well, the National Government is rolling out the red carpet to oil companies who can right now put in bids for the right to do risky exploratory deep sea drilling off the coast of New Zealand.

But we have laid out a better option. With your help, we can put in a bid to compete with the oil companies’ bids. A bid to protect our waters for all of us, not exploit them – a bid by Kiwis for Kiwis: “The Kiwi Bid.”

You can sign the Kiwi Bid here.

Once you’ve signed the Kiwi Bid, check back on Frog Blog next week when we’ll have a link to a submission guide to help you have your say on the latest removal of public rights.


14 Comments Posted

  1. Spam.

    I was talking about our Governments lack of desire and ability to properly regulate shipping safety, which gives me no confidence at all that they are capable of overseeing offshore drilling.

    The main qualification for a senior position in MNZ, for example, seems to be a job as a real estate agent, taxi driver, or policeman.
    The word is, that if you have commercial maritime qualifications, don’t mention it!
    MNZ’s motto, from their own statement, is, “safety at a reasonable cost”. Translated cynically by many commercial mariners as “Safety first, after money”. One person I know in the industry calls it, “paper safety” when all the boxes are ticked to cover the butts of MNZ.

    It was pretty much left up top individual companies in the past. Just like Pike River and the Rena.

    Although safety standards in offshore drilling are generally higher than in shipping, just like shipping, there are good, bad and shocking operators. On the whole it is regulation, the prospect of huge fines, lawsuits in the USA, and bad publicity which motivate corporate safety.

    like international shipping, the poor operators can shop around flag countries, regulators and classification societies to get away with the cheapest possible operation.

    The emphasis on safety was much higher on the rigs and tenders I was on than on any ship I sailed on, but it needed to be.

    These are very complicated pieces of equipment doing jobs with a very high degree of inherent risk.

    One company I worked for, on a rig, had extremely high standards, and worked seriously hard at best practice, but the record of near misses and accidents, with that rig alone, would still make your hair curl.

    A Friend of mine was on a drill ship which he said was worse than the worst of any rust bucket ship, and he had surveyed 100’s of them.

    That ship was on our coast for some time.

    Note: The main change to oil company safety rules after the Exxon Valdez was sunk was the naming of tankers. Exxon was taken off all their ships, to avoid future bad publicity. Most other oil companies followed suit.

    That is without even getting into the real danger. AGW!

  2. But Spam, since we are talking about offshore drilling, the safety standards of both marine and drilling would have to apply, according to the nature of the work performed. So you are saying that the marine side of offshore drilling has a much lower standard, as if this would help set our minds at ease? If a ship sailing into a well-known port can hit a well known reef, what is to stop a similar ship sailing into a drilling rig that doesn’t appear on their charts?


  3. Our Government has proven that the much simpler safety regulation of shipping is beyound their capabilities.
    I thought you were in the marine industry and had done work for the oil and gas industry? If so, you must be aware that the safety standards in the oil and gas industry are well-ahead of those in the marine industry.

  4. Our Government has proven that the much simpler safety regulation of shipping is beyound their capabilities.

    I am not optimistic about their desire, or ability, to control offshore drilling and exploration.

    In any case, with AGW and the economic cost of buying oil, we should be spending money on subsidising efficient alternative energy, not subsidising oil exploration.

  5. If this government wishes to explore for oil then it must do so in a manner that is safe for New Zealand and the planet.

    Deep Sea exploratory OR production drilling is not a behaviour that falls in that category in the manner it is normally conducted. Not when the “nearest” assistance in the event of trouble is as far away as it is.

    Deep Sea oil production is not safe for the planet in any event, as we already have proven reserves in excess of the amount we can burn and still retain a climate in which our civilization can survive. Why waste time and money looking for more stuff we CANNOT afford to burn?

  6. So if I were the Nats, I would take this “Kiwibid” as support from the Greens for the government to become an operator for an exploration permit.

    It would certainly help improve the governments share of income from oil and gas.

  7. Oh heck… we can DO it, we’ll send out a couple of fishermen with some sounding leads and if they come up oily we’ve found oil, if not we didn’t, but we DID look.

    My understanding is that if no search is done the lease is void and someone else can take it up, not that the people taking it MUST look for oil. 🙂

    It buys delay, not immunity.

  8. Under the crown minerals act, successful bidders MUST commit to undertaking certain activities within a certain period. I hope your kiwi bid succeeds, because you will then be legally committing New Zealanders to undertake oil exploration!

  9. greenfly, the photonz1 is a state of the art piece of computer programming and thus can be expected to provide consistent results, so there really is little need for you to actually read the words it produces.

  10. I didn’t read photonz1’s comment but I imagine he just spouted the same old tripe he always does on the topic of oil.
    Jackson’s comment must surely be intentional sarcasm – of course they don’t, not a hope in hell of dealing with a spill of any magnitude. Key’s pretense that ‘it’s only exploratory’ is another example of National’s willingness to make chumps of the New Zealand public, again and again. As Gareth says quite clearly, the Gulf of Mexico spill came from such an exploratory well.

  11. Gareth says “This week the Government announced plans to shut the public out from having a say on applications for the same activity that caused the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico”

    It’s also an activity that means you can drive a car, ride in a bus, or hop on a plane.

    No drill, no fill.

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