Deep sea oil: Anadarko drill confirmed

Houston-based oil giant Anadarko has committed to test-drilling three deep sea oil wells in Canterbury and Taranaki in 14 months.

Anadarko, who owned 25% of the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico that spilled millions of barrels of oil last year, are planning to drill at sea-depths of up to 1500 metres in what can only be described as a recipe for disaster.

Anadarko has exploration permits off Oamaru and far out to sea on the Taranaki coast. The company has so far struggled to secure a rig to do the drilling. Only five weeks ago, the oil giant deferred a drilling programme for this year, but corporate affairs manager Alan Seay said yesterday drill ship Noble Bob Douglas, which is still under construction, would visit New Zealand for its maiden voyage and first work programme of up to three holes. He expected one hole to be drilled in November or December next year off Oamaru, then another off Taranaki, and "ideally, depending on [earlier] results", a second either exploratory or appraisal hole well off Oamaru, at the Caravel prospect.

Climate Justice Taranaki responded to Anadarko's deep sea drilling off the Taranaki and Canterbury coasts by saying the "deep sea driller Anadarko is not welcome in Taranaki because the environmental and economic consequences for our region if there is an oil spill are simply too great. We have seen with the Rena spill that New Zealand does not have the capacity to deal with a comparatively small spill, other than Joe Bloggs going down the beach with a shovel and a plastic bag. What will happen if there is a spill like in the Gulf of Mexico, in which Anadarko had a 25% stake?"

"Instead of going after these sources of extreme energy like deep sea oil, oil exploration in the Arctic and fracking, we need to focus on renewable energy. We owe it to the future generations."

Meanwhile Lucy Lawless and her Greenpeace companions will be sentenced in the New Plymouth District Court this Friday for taking action earlier in the year against oil drilling in the Arctic when they boarded a drilling ship headed for Alaska.

Ka Nui! Enough!

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