New group formed in support of drilling

Robyn BroughtonA group of Dunedin businesses is moving to claim the high ground as debate intensifies over the arrival of oil companies in Otago waters.

However, with Anadarko's drilling ship, the Noble Bob Douglas, due by the end of the month, protest group Oil Free Otago has also warned more protest action could be expected.

The warning came days after a group of four Dunedin businessmen created a new group, Pro Oil and Gas Otago, to spell out their support for gas exploration off Dunedin's coast.

The group's Facebook page has attracted more than 1300 ''likes'' since Saturday, including from pro-drilling city councillors Andrew Whiley and Mike Lord, and support was continuing to climb.

Spokeswoman Robyn Broughton, of Dunedin, said the group wanted to counter ''scaremongering'' by opponents of oil and gas exploration, and planned to meet representatives from the Dunedin City Council and oil companies.

A public event designed to demonstrate the city's willingness to embrace the industry and its potential economic benefits was being discussed, although plans were yet to be confirmed, she said.

The city had an opportunity for ''astronomical'' economic benefits from a natural gas find, but public debate to date suggested the city would not welcome the industry.

''I don't want to see my grandchildren raised in London or Europe. I want something that will encourage our young people to come home ... [gas drilling] has the ability to do that,'' Mrs Broughton said.

Growing support for the group since Saturday also showed the ''silent majority'' was in favour of exploration, she claimed.

However, Oil Free Otago spokeswoman Rosemary Penwarden dismissed that, pointing to her group's ''blockade'' of Otago Harbour on Sunday, which attracted 250 people despite bad weather.

That was worth more than clicking a button to ''like'' a Facebook page, she believed.

''That doesn't mean much to me. They didn't come out on the harbour.''

Her group's ''blockade'' was part of a weekend of activities staged during the Oil Free Future Summit in Dunedin, which also attracted hundreds of people, she said.

Opposition to drilling off Dunedin's coast was also spread across a variety of Facebook pages, including Save Otakou from Oil Drilling, which had 1105 ''likes'', and Oil Free Otago, which had 515.

She welcomed alternative views, saying her group was not scaremongering and did not claim to represent the entire city.

However, the new group's views would not alter fundamental concerns about fossil fuels and climate change, Ms Penwarden said.

''The bottom line has to be are we going to be responsible for our children's and grandchildren's futures, or not?

''We are pro-good, economic, sensible growth for Dunedin, not deep-sea drilling.''

Debate over industry has intensified in Dunedin following Shell's announcement it would drill an exploratory well in the Great South Basin, in waters south of Dunedin, as part of a joint venture in 2016-17.

Anadarko also planned to begin drilling an exploratory well in the Canterbury Basin, 60km east of Otago Peninsula, next month.

Both companies hoped to confirm commercially-viable quantities of natural gas, but have also stressed full-blown extraction, if it was to proceed, would be years away.

Mrs Broughton said Pro Oil and Gas Otago was in ''regular'' contact with the oil companies, which were ''delighted'' by the public response, even if it would not influence any decision to base themselves in Dunedin.

The businessmen behind the new group did not yet want to be identified, preferring to work behind the scenes, but there was ''nothing sinister'' in that, she said.

Anadarko New Zealand corporate affairs manager Alan Seay said the company was ''a long way'' from deciding whether to proceed to full extraction, and whether to use Dunedin or Invercargill as a supply base.

However, it was ''wonderful'' to see growing support for the group, which confirmed what the company already knew, he said.

''We know there's a lot of support for our activities there and this confirms it.''

- chris.morris@odt.co.nz

Me maybe

Own 2 cars - 1st v8 , 2nd v6, my wife owns 1, car inline 4, my sons own cars (between my wife and I we might drive 10-20 kms per week if you are lucky). But we all walk most places we go.

I have solar hot water, I grow most of our food apart from meat. I fly maybe once in a blue moon and then only if I have to. I use sustainable building products when working on any one of my houses. I repair most things that break in our lives not throw them away and replace them for a new ones. I work 50 - 60 hrs a week, my wife works 50 hrs a week, all but 2 of my 6 children work. One doesn't because he is only 13 and at school, and by the way he walks the 2.5 kms to school each day and back rain or shine, the other because he is autistic and on one will employ him, yet he also repairs rather than throw away including light bulbs which if you are smart enough to repair will give you another 3 months use.

Yet we are not environmentalists, we agree with the drilling, we disagree with climate change. And yet we do more to help our environment than those who protest about it. The greenies 2 houses up from me both own 4 wheel drives and drive every day. I read somewhere in the comment that a supporter of no drilling etc stated that they drive 700 + km a week to and from work and to drop their kids at school. Let the kids walk to school, change your job if you are really that worried about the environment, put your money where your mouth or keyboard is, that goes for all you environmentalists. Seems they don't like to be called greenies any more.

Each one counts

Yes! Small efficient car, rideshare when can, solar electricity, wetback wind generator composting toilet, recycled clothing, plastic bags saved, recycled and reused, some organics, minimize use of meat, support locally made and grown as much as possible and am trying my best.

No one can do it 100% because business and the corporations won't co-operate. But what we choose they will eventually have to come around to because without our buying power they have no business. So, get off the backs of those who care and are trying all of you greenie bashers and FGS start somewhere yourselves. If all you do is slag off at others because they haven't managed it all yet you're part of a bigger problem.

And yes I work, and pay my taxes and vote. Start somewhere. Try stopping the erosion of our resources from over use instead of blithely supporting more of the same over and over. The Akatore fault is in the southern basin. Stir that up and we could be another Christchurch. If it all goes ahead, it won't be in my name.

Become The Someone Pt2

Can I ask how many of the naysayers are putting their money where their mouth is?

Who has a smaller, more fuel efficient car? (I do). Who has solar hot water? (not me). Who generates their own power? (I do). Who eschews hydrocarbon based clothing? (erm, not me). Anyone use their car less? Buy food locally to cut down on air miles?

"Caring for the planet" in your spare time and doing a bit of recycling doesn't really cut it as reducing your carbon based lifestyle.

If we're to transition to a lower impact lifestyle, then we need three things: 1. to take ownership and start doing it and 2. a viable alternative. 3. Support from those in power (incentives to install solar/geothermal/wind/hydro would be a good start!

Yes, NZ touts itself as producing green power, but only 37% comes from that, the rest is fossil fuel...) And face it, oil companies will not provide that viable alternative, someone else has to do that.

Become that someone

Sparrowhawk writes "If someone doesn't start putting some money into the alternatives we will all have to forgo many things."

They keyword is Someone; To me the only way to action something is to take ownership of it and make it happen, so why doesn't it happen? That someone could be whoever is passionate enough to pull the keys out of their car and make something happen - Electric cars have existed but will only become cheap when more are produced with better batteries and with increased demand, someone first to become heaps of people to do all that.

On other general terms All the protests have been based on "No Drill No Spill" (with a twist of climate science debate) funny there's been not much on "Pro-Alternative fuels", it's therefore simply adding to the problem rather than become the solution. Some will say Green jobs but where on earth are they? And they will probably need oil to power that. Right now my highly efficient, high horsepower motorbike doesn't run on hopes and dreams - it has all synthetic oil invented years ago by someone and that's great.

Velcro

In your reply I find no support for any kind of safeguard to help prevent the effects of an oil incident to our coast line should oil recovery prove to be viable.

I can only assume that you are a supporter of oil recovery at any cost?

While you and some others are of course very entitled to your view. Others while not unsupporting of oil recovery and the benefits it may bring see a need for some caution.

You may want to live in a cave - not me!

Sparrowhark - you are exactly right that we need to start looking at alternatives to oil and if you do your homework you will see this is currently happening. You may want to live in a cave right now by banning oil and gas exploration but I don't. Clearly it will take time to develop alternatives perhaps 100 years. In the meantime oil is a massive part of your and my lives. The future direction of our city is also a massive issue and investment is needed so oil and gas is the perfect solution. There is ample oil and gas with more and more discoveries to get through for a long time providing we continue to reduce usage. That does not say we need to stop now. To those who rely on reports saying there will be a 70% chance of a leak are probably reading a one sided report written by a greenie who is desperate to stop development and want to live in a cave and go back to the dark ages. I am sure other reports will come out showing how safe drilling is these days. How often do you hear of leaks with all the drilling in the world? Time to go back to your cave and put down your keyboard made from oil.

Pro Oil Group

Good to see all the pro oil people signing up to the facebook account. Now we know who to contact when the big spill happens.

accidents on deep water wells

You refer, Marious, to a report on accidents on deep water wells in the Gulf of Mexico, which says that during the duration of any one well drilling operation there is a 70% chance of a reported incident, which generally is a stubbed toe or sprained wrist or the like. Would that the forestry and farming industries could even remotely approach such safety standards! It includes oil spills, although these are very much the exception. However, it has been seized on by various pressure groups to be spun as a 70% probability of a catastrophic oil spill. It is, of course, nothing of the sort.

The remainder of Marious's post is just unsubstantiated supposition. 

Will we have it at any cost?

Protests over drilling  for oil will not stop it happening. The world is far too adicted to oil not to develop any major discovery.

This government has already made its decision the ship is coming. If oil is found in any quantity then it will be recovered, there will be some benefit if all goes well.

A report  giving a 70% chance of an incident with oil recovery in the southern ocean has been it would appear dismissed.

Commonsense and reason are not just negative thinking. Our environment is an asset that should be protected at any cost.

It will be interesting to see if this government and its business supporters are as keen on insisting on protections to prevent oil damage if recovery is viable?  If that's possible? No sign of this so far which is disturbing.

caves

All the oil that produces all that is running out. If someone doesn't start putting some money into the alternatives we will all have to forgo many things. If that happens it will be back to the caves for you too. You wont like that will you? What we waste today we pay for tomorrow. Or someone does. Hope it's not your grandkids.

greenies

Who exactly are all these "greenies" you keep on about? Do you actually know any? Where do you get your info from because it feels like something out of the 1950's to me. All my greenie friends work hard, and in their spare time they care about the planet. That includes nurses doctors lawyers psychologists business owners even builders. I think you need to get your head out of the sand and look around outside your small conservative backward - looking community.

Every Norwegian is a millionaire

Wrong.

The fund is worth about a million kroner, not US dollars, for every Norwegian, or about US$160,000 per capita at the current exchange rate.

And it's a government investment fund - it's not as if individual Norwegians can dip into it to buy stuff for themselves.

Oil nimbys

Driving and flying to protests and conferences about why we shouldn't use oil - even when the decision to do so follows a period of navel-gazing angst - is like boycotting NZ manufacturers who pay staff below the living wage, but buying overseas-produced goods instead.  Generally those goods were produced by workers whose conditions are infinitely worse than those of even the lowest-paid NZers.  

Every Norwegian is a millionaire

It may have escaped popular notice, but every Norwegian - all 5 million of them - is now a US dollar millionaire. This is courtesy of oil.

NZ is permitting oil and gas exploration. How can anybody know the volume or quality of the resource until exploration - undertaken at financial risk to Anadarko and others - has been completed? Assertions about the volume and quality of the resource, if it exists, are usual left-wing humbug.

NZ is an agrarian economy which is socially conservative and does little to encourage individual initiative; and it has insufficient capital or investment skill to create the real industries of the future: knowledge-based industries. Capital from resources can assist in developing other industries, and capital does not appear from nowehere.

Greens and their fellow-travellers seem to believe that wealth is an asset to be distributed according to their wisdom, not something that has to be created from risk-taking and initiative. Greens live in the unreal world where government knows best and no-one needs to work unless they choose to do so.

Norway

And don't forget, most of the North Sea is only around a hundred metres deep (comparable to the depth where the Maui field is). Some wells are in slightly deeper water, but nothing remotely like the 1100m depth where Anadarko will be drilling off our coast, or the 1350m where Shell plans to drill. That's a long way down when things go wrong. Look at the oil and gas industry resources that were available in the Gulf of Mexico when the Macondo blowout happened (in 1600m), and it still took more than four months to stop the flow. Here... who you gonna call?

But really, enough fossil fuel has already been discovered to well and truly ruin us if we persist in burning it all.

Points to consider

When North Sea oil and gas went online it was right up there with the boom. Nobody thought oil would ever run out. It was economically viable. However there were social impacts. Ask the locals. Off shore rigs don't benefit the towns much except for brothels and bars, if they come at all. Most of the oil rig workers are from all over the world and couldn't care less the sort of town Dunedin becomes.

Also not sure about Norway but they seem to have been well established for a while so probably fall into the same catagory as Scotland. Now however, the cheap oil is all gone and the industry is taking great risks to keep themselves 'above water'. This isn't about making a motza. This is about desperation. So whereas Scotland and Norway, as far as I know, were not deep sea drilling risks, here it is. What's more, they do not sit in the Pacific Rim of Fire and Faults, that could get disturbed by deep drilling. 

We happen to have a fault line just where they want to put down two wells. The Akatore Fault hasn't moved for years but there is nothing to say it can't. 

There is more to all this than money, folks. This is Russian Roulette with us as the pawns. Please think beyond your pockets.

Go gas exploration and don't live in a cave

I am 100% in favour of safe oil and gas exploration off our shore. It amazes me that anyone (like the vocal minority against it) cannot see the massive positive impact it would have on Dunedin. To anyone who is against it I ask - Do you live in a house with spouting, pipes and paint or do you live in a cave? Do you have plastic in your cupboards in your house or do you live in a cave? Do you wear shoes or do you walk in bare feet into your cave? Do you have rubber in your bike tyres or do you walk from your cave. I think there might be one or 2 "Anti's" who live in a cave, are bare footed, own no plastic and walk everywhere in Dunedin - would be a pretty sad life I feel. Think about it.

Tunnel vision business elite

So Robyn, as a National party accolyte, what is your opinion on the way our incompetent government has failed to wrestle a "Norwegian-like" deal from these prospectors (or should that be plunderers). Please enlighten us as to how these "astronomical economic benefits from a natural gas find" will manifest themselves. You say you don't want to see your grandchildren raised in London or Europe. Your National party mates forced that decision on the Hillside Workshop families without batting an eyelid. Except the relative luxury of going to London/Europe was not even an option for them!

Oh no, not this old furphy

Oh no, not this old furphy again, NZPudding! Sigh! If you run an economic model on a typical oil discovery under the NZ fiscal regime, the nation state ends up with around half the wealth created. A bit less than Norway maybe. But not much, and the Norwegians are, in an oil exploration sense, selling Ferraris , while NZ is selling Corollas. So stop this nonsense about the government giving it away. I should also point out the present fiscal regime for oil was introduced under a Labour government anyway.

A National Disgrace

NZPudding - but the Norwegian government was canny enough to keep 50% of the profits from oil found in its waters, our government of simpletons, as part of their selling off the country to their mates policy are giving this away for 5% it's a National disgrace.

The 'likes' are increasing

Just put my "like" on their faceache page. I'm like number 1750.

Take your keys out then and walk

The term "Oil Free Otago" is so not well thought out, subjective, hypocritical and open to interpretation that based on principles that even all your tankers that ship or freight Oil or byproducts should be oil free as well, but if you dried up those supplies in Otago how on earth would the opposition drive to the protests?

The Pro Oil and Gas Otago FB page outnumbers the two opposition ones combined with 1685+ so it's good to see that support.

Not sure what Scootertrash's objective is around DCC interests versus a tax-paying private entity but both professionally and personally the Stadium to me has been awesomely rewarding as with Aerosmith (that chose here over Auckland) but to the people I know that have gained employment there as well as the Chinese Gardens to go somewhere on a date. With a few more world class accommodation in this city we could really see that help benefit tourism.

And again Anadarko is mainly prospecting for gas.

Pretending to represent 'us'

Sparrowhawk writes that business representatives "are welcome to their opinion but don't believe they are representing us Anadarko. Everyone is entitled to their own views but don't pretend you have our endorsement." Looks like Sparrowhawk is making the same assumption, i.e. that "our" opinion is the same as his/hers, not the same as business representatives. My own guess is that some of "us" are on one side, some on the other. Claiming to speak for "us" as a whole without proof is pot-kettle, whichever side does it.

What about Norway?

You can look at North Sea oil and the impact on the British economy and you could argue that it has very little impact but it does have a population of over 60 million and adds about $100 billion to the economy each year.

However, you could look at Norway which has a population of 5 million (not too far off New Zealand) and see what impact fossil fuels have had on the economy. Norwegians enjoy the second-highest GDP per capita in Europe and fourth highest GDP per capita in the world and is one of the greenest countries on the planet.

Done right, Otago can have its cake and eat it.

 

Business takes on the minorities

Great to see Dunedin Businesses taking the fight to these left wing minority groups who tend to command so much of the headlines.

Watching the protests at the weekend, I was amazed to see all these people protesting to stop drilling while dressed head to toe in Oil based products and on the water in their plastic canoes, hypocrites!.

Dunedin desprately needs investment from big business to stave off the city becoming a large retirement home whose only real big business is the thousands of students who transit in, despoil our enviornment then leave for greener pastures.

Let's get real, Clean Green NZ is a myth perpetuated to attract rich tourists and film companies. Dairying is distroying the land and creating more pollution than any offshore drilling, the real enemy has 4 legs eats grass and Moos!!

Want to save the planet? Get rid of cows.

 

Ridiculous

What a ridiculous and unsubstantiated comment by scootertrash.

Do some research

Scootertrash if you did the smallest bit of research you would know that unlike the Stadium and the Gardens, the gas drilling is not funded by the council.

So what you say does not make sense.

And I do not see how drilling for gas over 12 miles away from our coast is going to affect Dunedin tourism in the slightest.

Good on You

Good on you Pro Oil and Gas Otago! I too am pro oil and gas. We need all the business we can get to pay our way as a province, city and as individual families and people.

I will click "like" on your Facebook page so I encourage others to do likewise. It is not an empty gesture as some of the anti development luddites say, so do it and encourage those who support oil and gas research.

Non-representative

What's good for business isn't necessarily what's good for our quality of life. Since when did business representatives become more important than the public and start to represent us to corporations? Why bother with elections then? Secret meeting with multinationals hey? They are welcome to their opinion but don't believe they are representing us Anadarko. Everyone is entitled to their own views but don't pretend you have our endorsement.

Economic benefits

Investigate the economic benefits that the 'north sea oil industry' has had on Britain's economy. Yes it is so little it is negligible. Like the stadium/Chinese gardens the benefits being touted by a few will never equal out with the costs to the whole of the community....tourism's cash cow is to be killed and gutted off the Otago coast just as milk is at its premium....clean green NZ lol .

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