Gareth Hughes

Anadarko’s deep sea oil drilling information blowout

by Gareth Hughes

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.

Published in Environment & Resource Management by Gareth Hughes on Fri, December 13th, 2013   

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