Anadarko plans to use the drilling ship Noble Bob Douglas
in its search for oil in the Canterbury Basin next year.
The oil industry has launched a scathing counterattack on
a Greenpeace oil spill-modelling scenario, labelling it
scare-mongering and ''science fiction''.
Oil company Anadarko yesterday said its own modelling of its
Canterbury Basin prospect showed only a ''remote chance'' of
oil reaching shore.
Greenpeace announced the findings of a commissioned report
early yesterday, which said while most findings indicated any
oil spill from the southern Canterbury Basin would be pushed
east towards the Chatham Rise, in the worst-case scenario oil
could wash up in Oamaru and at Taiaroa Head in concentrations
which would kill wildlife.
Anadarko plans to use the new drill ship Noble Bob Douglas in
the Canterbury Basin next year.
Shell is yet to make a final decision on whether to drill in
the Great South Basin, in a venture it believes has a 50:50
chance of going ahead.
Anadarko corporate affairs spokesman Alan Seay said when
contacted yesterday he agreed with a comment by chief
executive David Robinson, of the Petroleum Exploration and
Production Association New Zealand, labelling the Greenpeace
report ''science fiction''.
''Greenpeace are dead against the oil industry and flipping
up fears of people is part of their approach,'' Mr Seay said.
Anadarko had done its own modelling of a potential oil spill
in the southern sector of the Canterbury basin, about 100km
north of Dunedin, in preparation for drilling, he said.
''If everything went wrong, the weather was against us,
and we did nothing, there is a remote chance of it [oil]
reaching the coast,'' Mr Seay said. Mr Robinson told the
Otago Daily Times
the modelling was askew because it
presented the public with ''a worst-case scenario from the Gulf
He said of the Greenpeace survey: ''Science fiction is what
''A Gulf of Mexico event in the Gulf of Mexico again is
extraordinarily unlikely. They [Greenpeace] are assuming the
industry learnt nothing from it,'' Mr Robinson said.
He said the industry had available several versions of the
''capping stack'', which was manufactured to stem the Gulf of
Mexico sea-floor leak, available to get to any spill.
Both Mr Seay and Mr Robinson said there was always some risk
of a spill.
''Yes, there is an element of risk in any human endeavour,''
Mr Seay said.
Mr Robinson estimated that capping a spill in New Zealand
would take ''weeks, not months'', as happened in the Gulf of
Mr Robinson said oil and gas exploration was a ''very
significant'' contributor for New Zealand's economy and that
with or without exploration, New Zealand still faced daily
risks in shipping and transporting fuels around the country
by land and sea.
On the question of contingency plans, Mr Seay said Anadarko
had detailed plans in place and the use of equipment, which
could be brought in to New Zealand from sites around the
world, should they be needed.
The industry overall had learnt from the Deepwater Horizon
Gulf of Mexico spill and had improved science and design and
planning for well designs, with the emphasis being on
''preventative'' measures to not cause a spill.
''There's a huge emphasis on prevention, to avoid and [then]
mitigate any spill,'' he said.
He noted that Anadarko believed there was a 95% chance of
finding gas in the Canterbury Basin, and small levels of
condensate, a light crude oil, which evaporated when exposed