The company set to drill off the Otago coast in January
has been ''put through the wringer'' when it comes to
environmental and safety standards, Energy and Resources
Minister Simon Bridges says.
Mr Bridges was commenting on the revelation Texas-based
company Anadarko is set to drill a $US100 million deep-water
test well 60km off the coast of Otago Peninsula at the bottom
of the Canterbury Basin in January.
The news provoked debate online, with most commenting on the
Otago Daily Times Facebook page against drilling and
most on the ODT website, albeit from fewer comments,
Mr Bridges said spills and other ''high impact events'' were
''exceptionally rare'' and the Government enforced ''world
best practice'' when it came to environmental and health and
''This is a highly regulated area where we put businesses
like Anadarko through the wringer.''
He argued gas, which was more likely to be struck than oil,
was a force for good in the ''climate change fight'' as a
''transition energy source'' because it was cleaner burning
Drilling was ''extremely positive'' for Dunedin and, if oil
was found, it had the potential to bring jobs to the city, he
Oil Free Otago spokeswoman Niamh O'Flynn told the ODT
it was exploring tactics to protest the drilling and would
not rule out using boats to meet the drilling ship Noble
Bob Douglas once it arrived off the coast.
The group was against drilling because of the danger
something could go wrong and because it would further
contribute to global warming, Ms O'Flynn said.
New Zealand was unprepared to deal with the potentially
disastrous consequences of drilling for either oil or gas,
Mirroring the comments of many online commentators opposed to
drilling, Kate Lang said on the ODT Facebook page
that: ''Oil and coal only add to global warming and climate
change. Pollution of the seas in this important wildlife,
wilderness area would be devastating - and no oil company can
keep it clean or safe.''
Many brought up the risks of environmental disaster and
questioned the benefit offshore oil or gas would bring to the
''Anadarko owned 25% of the oil well that caused the spill in
the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 (the Macondo Prospect). Do
Dunedin residents really want such a company carrying out
deep-sea drilling on their doorstep?'' user F-Lin said on the
Others welcomed the news, with Facebook user Brendon Arbuckle
saying: ''Forget the greenies, if they had their way, we
would be living in cardboard tents powering our energy
efficient lightbulbs with pedal power.''