Anadarko’s deep sea oil drilling information blowout

You know the Government doesn’t want media attention on something when they release 1700 odd pages of information on a Friday afternoon. This afternoon Maritime NZ finally released all the annexes to Anadarko’s Environmental Impact Assessment outside of the normal Official Information Act time period.

The detail contained in the information dump shows New Zealanders have every right to be concerned about deep sea oil drilling. New Zealanders should have had the right to see this critical oil spill information before drilling commenced and the Environmental Protection Authority should have seen it before giving Anadarko approval to drill their ultra-deep well off the Taranaki coast. It’s incredible the EPA didn’t request or look at these reports showing the impact and response plans of an oil spill before allowing them to drill and it makes a mockery of Government claims we have ‘world class’ regulation protecting New Zealand’s environment and economy from an oil spill.

The 1700 pages of information highlight how isolated New Zealand is, and how long we could be waiting for relief. It is very concerning that a capping stack could take 33 days to arrive, and critically that it could take 80-115 days for a relief rig to arrive and drill a relief well, all while up to 12,000 barrels/day of oil gushes out. According to the info dump the nearest relief rig is in East Africa and with Anadarko itself predicting a 66% chance of oil on beaches, I shudder to think of the impact on our animals, ocean, and economy while we wait for a relief rig to sail to New Zealand.

Interestingly Anadarko itself models a higher flow rate for an oil spill than Greenpeace did in their report and it shows the Government were wrong to attack Greenpeace as ‘scaremongering,’ when in fact they were being conservative with their numbers. Even the Texan cowboys Anadarko say if there is a deep sea well blowout there is a 2/3 chance we could see oil wash up on our beaches!

This report shows the risks and impact of a spill and why we should be concerned about drilling. New Zealand’s future is in clean energy not risky deep sea oil exploration.

13 Comments Posted

  1. I am interested to note that my last post attracted 5 ‘dislikes.’ That post is factually correct so I guess it is still true that nobody likes to hear the truth, particularly when it….
    (a) contradicts their own opinion, or
    (b) indicates a serious problem or challenge.
    Closing ones eyes to a problem does not make it go away – Sorry!

  2. We already have proven reserves IN EXCESS of any we can afford to burn. The CO2 budget is already blown. I do not give a flying fuck how much money is made.

    Even in the unlikely event that the well itself operates to perfection and finds copious amounts of oil and we scupper the minimal percentage returns the government negotiated in favor of charging what everyone else does… the result is that we’ve cost ourselves a planet on which our civilization has a home and we do not have another.

    You did not, at any time in the preceding posts, consider anything but how pure and rich the oil you can get might be. That tells us EXACTLY what motivates you, and this government and what we can expect from you in the future.

    It doesn’t matter if it is there or not.

    We cannot afford to burn it.

    …and it doesn’t matter if it is there or not, then why take the risk of drilling to find it???

  3. alwyn – those impressive figures are unlikely to be sustained over a year. As the oil and gas flow out, the pressure drops and the flow rate drops with it.


  4. Any benefit has the potential to be massively overridden by costs! And deep sea oil is costly to extract, even when all goes according to plan!

  5. Alwyn, Yes! but if that 12 – 18 thousand barrels went into the sea for the aforementioned 115 days you would lose the income from that 220 million litres, spend heaps capping and/or drilling a relief well plus the enormous cost of cleaning up. then there is the lost revenue from tourism, fishing and cleaning up after super-storms like ‘Sandy’ and ‘Haiyan’ bought about by anthropogenic global warming. We have used up all the easy-to-get, “safe” (and, incidentally, cheap) oil so it is time to start concentrating on a ‘post oil’ sustainability that does not harm the environment but which provides a tenable life style. It is impossible to carry on with an economic system predicated upon ongoing growth. Continued growth in a finite, closed system such as Planet Earth is impossible!

  6. I admit that I haven’t read this material, partly because I can’t read that fast and partly because I don’t have the time anyway, but I was intrigued by the numbers given in this mornings paper for the size of spill modelled.

    One was apparently for 12,000 bbl/day and the other, at a different location for 18,000 bbl/day.
    If these are the expected flows for single wells I am now very much in favour of the work. Assuming the oil is like Brent crude, and the current NZ/US exchange rate applies, the oil from the 12,000 bbl/day case is worth $575 million per year and the 18,000 case $862 million per year.

    Those figures are for a single well in each case. What could we expect from 10 or 20 wells per site? If there is any chance of such production volumes I am definitely in the “Drill, baby, Drill” group.

  7. dave stringer, ever read a summary of a report, or go straight to the salient areas – by having a prior awareness of the important detail the report would be covering.

  8. The major reason for the governments interest in exploration is to pose themselves as having a plan to grow the economy.

    A party that sees keeping wages low for the many and untaxed CG as the way to wealth for the few with spare capital, has a learned appreciation of wealth realised at the expense of others – here risk to the public environment.

    However the only result may be to explore and identify where we have minerals.

    In the case of offshore oil it is increasingly likely that investment in this production here would be a long way off (due to discovery of large shale oil resources). As it is no longer price competitive, terms for oil exploration will be onerous for us – such as bearing the risk of environment harm.

    Given our remoteness, this level of risk is magnified to unacceptable levels. Especially when the production would not flow and the future would offer more advanced exploration and safety standards.

  9. Hey Alwyn, To quote an old song. “The chances of anything coming from Mars was a million to one, but still they came.” Worst case scenario with figures from the aforementioned report. 12,000 barrels per day for the 115 days needed to get a rig here to drill a relief well. (I have not factored in time to drill the well once the rig arrives!!) The resulting spill would dump some 220 MILLION litres of oil into the sea just off our coast. Will you be first to the coast with your bucket and spade to clean up that lot?

  10. It was quite easy for him Dave.
    He only read the words he understands.
    Cuts the time to read it down by a massive amount.
    You will notice he didn’t bother to tell us of the chance that ANY spill, much less the absolute maximum one is very very low.

  11. I am really impressed
    1700 pages released on Friday “afternoon” and by six pm you have absorbed it, analysed it and posted a critique.

    I know McKinsey would welcome you with a wide chequebook for that skill.

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