Beach protests send drilling message

A clear message was sent to Texas oil company Anadarko on Saturday as more than 600 impassioned environmentalists gathered on coastal Otago beaches to protest against deep-sea oil drilling.

Hundreds of people at St Clair Beach in Dunedin on Saturday protest against deep-sea drilling. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Hundreds of people at St Clair Beach in Dunedin on Saturday protest against deep-sea drilling. Photo by Craig Baxter.
A crucified albatross, dozens of banners and a rousing haka were used by hundreds of protesters lining Dunedin's St Clair Beach to show they were united in their opposition.

The initial gathering of about 300 protesters swelled to more than 500, Oil Free Otago representatives said.

A passerby asked protesters if they had driven vehicles to the beach, and called them hypocrites when they said yes.

The protesters chanted, blew bubbles and booed a plane flying the message ''pro gas 4 drilling'' overhead.

Volunteers collected signatures for a Green Party petition against deep-sea drilling, and fish and chips were served en masse for lunch.

There were calls for the Government to invest in ''clean and green'' energy, and to keep New Zealand's pristine reputation intact.

The protest was one of many organised simultaneously throughout the South Island on Saturday, as part of Greenpeace's Banners on the Beach campaign.

About 60 protesters at Friendly Bay, in Oamaru, argued deep-sea drilling for oil off the Otago coast would merely prolong a ''dying culture''.

Protest organiser Robyn Pickens hoped the ''community inspired'' group's protest would inform people of the risks of deep-sea drilling.

The large separation between mechanical controls on the surface and drilling mechanisms on the ocean floor meant there could still be a ''blow-out'' that could spill oil.

University of Otago physics Associate Professor Bob Lloyd shared similar sentiments with about 60 protesters gathered at Moeraki Beach.

He said oil use was ''short-term gain for long-term pain'' and believed people had about 20 years to stop all carbon going into the atmosphere before the increase in temperatures would become irreversible.

However, he said it was not feasible to stop all carbon use tomorrow. The transition away from carbon would be an enormous task and public support would have to be greater to get New Zealand away from oil dependency, he said.

He believed 2000 protesters would be needed at Moeraki, 10,000 at Dunedin and 100,000 at an Auckland protest to make an impact on decision making.


Observer, all goods are

Observer, all goods are priced at what the seller thinks he can get. If too high, then no sales, and vv. There are offshore fields in NZ, just not that many and not that big. So your thrift store argument does not hold.

In Norway, it's even more vulnerable and beautiful fjords have not been ruined by the numerous offshore oil and gas fields, in fact it has, and can afford, extremely high environmental standards, to maintain their pristine quality.

I am intimately acquainted with the fiscal regime for oil and gas in NZ, which from what you say you appear not to have read.

Crest Energy has been trying to install tidal flow turbines on the floor of the Kaipara Harbour for years, against rabid opposition. Open sea turbines are expensive, unreliable and prone to failure. no one has yet made them remotely economically viable. 

There are more oil explorers than Texans, and the excellence of environmental practice in the industry would astonish you, if you cared to look. 

Bottom dollar

Velcro: Your arguments may have a veneer of logic to them, but scratch the surface and you hear the same thing in a thrift store that allows bargaining - these goods aren't worth much, certainly you are lucky anyone is even sniffing around thinking about tossing a few paltry coins at them. If you don't hurry and take my lowball and insulting offer I'll be gone in a flash, so better hurry and take what I'll give you and be happy about it.
Sorry but this is disgusting to me. The Otago coastline should be preserved as a crown jewel for the city, and certainly for the wildlife that brings the clean tourist dollar in yearly. A clean appealing environment - that's something to bank on for the future.
I daresay you did not in fact follow the idea of looking up the actual facts, the actual rate of royalties to be paid to New Zealand. I don't care who negotiated them, they need to be renegotiated immediately and certainly not allowed to be taken advantage of. The figures are there in black and white, and no amount of prevaricating can change the fact that NZ is being sold out for a bottom dollar.
Here is my solution: There are turbines that have been developed that can be installed under the ocean that generate electricity with the movement of every wave. Tell the Texas oil men they are going to have to leave their dirty oil business elsewhere and they may be allowed to install those sea turbines and only those, or move along. If they depart in a huff, so much the better. [Abridged]

Competitive marketplace

The Observer: The present fiscal regime for oil and gas was introduced under a previous Labour government. It's a competitive marketplace - virtually every country in the world wants to get oil and gas exploration and the benefits it brings.
In an oil prospectivity sense, NZ is selling used Corollas, PNG - more like Subaru Forresters, and Norway -  Ferraris. That NZ is not underselling itself is self evident from the continuing modest level of exploration here as compared to West Africa, Gulf of Mexico, North Sea, to name but a few areas; despite NZ's wealth of lightly explored large sedimentary basins. 
If one runs a standard economic model on a likely typical offshore NZ discovery, one finds the state ends up with around half the wealth created, in the form of royalties (20%), personal and corporate taxes, withholding taxes, GST. Its a pity that Anadarko was not successful drilling offshore Otago on this occasion. But if and when a discovery comes, we should be prepared to get out there and get into the action and get a share of the pie.
Otago has good engineering and other service companies, and will benefit to the extent that it embraces the oppportunities an oil or gas discovery will bring. No, Observer, the royalty regime is not too soft, and your proposal to stop all drilling is the economic equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot.

Size matters

"...the government tax and royalty take on oil and gas production is huge.."

Huge by mouse standards isn't so big. New Zealand politicians have sold her out at literally almost the worst royalty rate in the entire world. Look at the chart which compares 50 countries royalty rates by googling "frogblog" and "are we being royalty screwed".

If nothing else, all test drilling should be stopped immediately while NZ negotiates herself a better rate. Papau New Guinea has a better rate. NZ is being sold out like a cheap trick.

Back and forth

Ah, so you're  spagnostic eh? Well, I guess extraordinary claims do require extraordinary proof. Which brings me neatly back to your views on man made climate change.

Rational thought

As I sit here typing on my computer keyboard, the data being send to the ODT via high speed pulses of electricity my belief in rational thought in science is easily proven.

I have not heard or read any rational proof of the existence of some mythical 'omnipotent being'.

Now let's get back to the real discussion regarding gas exploration. 

Tolerance of others beliefs

@nightimejohn.  Again you don't seem able to read what was written. You may believe in The Flying Spaghetti Monster, I don't and never claimed to. You seem to suggest that 'rational' thought cannot exist at the same time as a belief in a creator God. I suggest that rational thought in science needs an even greater level of faith.

Tolerance of others beliefs.

David, as a Pastafarian I too believe that the earth was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster but I wouldn't try to defend this view as rational. It is merely a belief, as is yours.

The scientific method

The scientific method is is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.

Selectively choosing a small 'chunk' of RSS Global Temperature data as Velcro has done is misleading and somewhat mischevious. Velcro chose to use one set of RSS data but negelected to mention the total sets;

TLT  30+ years  0.125K/decade  1979 - 2014.1
TMT 30+ years  0.078K/decade  1979 - 2014.1
TTS 22+ years  0.005K/decade  1987 - 2014.1
TLS 30+ years  -0.283/decade  1979 - 2014.1

And then the metadata analysis begins again taking into account all the other datasets.

The scientific method

Nightimejohn: You seem to make some strange assumptions. I think a reference to coral outcrops in Clitheroe may refer to a time slightly more than 5000 years ago.

You seem to use the term fundamentalist in a perjorative way which reveals something about your attitudes rather than my situation. You are correct in one thing - I do believe in a creator God and don't have the blind faith to rely on science to explain creation as I would need to believe in a big bang or some other speculative guess.

A rational person would have a wider perspective than to rely on man made science alone. So, yes, I am a rational person. My presumption so far is that you aren't.

The scientific method

'You don't need good science to recognise bad science.'

I'll let that statement speak for itself.

No oil - no roof ?

Heres one for the anti-drilling ostriches. Without oil, there would have been no stadium roof in ETFE because it is derived from petrochemicals. How about that?

The scientific method.

David1, you say, 'You don't need good science to recognise bad science.'

What then would you suggest?  Blind faith? Am I to take it you are a fundamentalist? Do you believe that the earth was created no more than 5000 years ago by a supreme being as you seem to only refer to recent climatic events and not to ones that date back over 100,000 years as velcro does. I would be grateful if you could clear that up as then I would know if I was arguing with a rational person or not. Thanks

A plateau is a plateau

Viv Kerr. Take either of the series of global temperatures 1996-2013 or 2000-2013 (to avoid the contentious 1998 year  by a year or two). All of the four main global temperature records - RSS, UAH, HADCRUT4, GISS - will show effectively zero increase on a least squares linear trend on either of these series over the time.
And if you apply a 10 year running average to these series, which of course brings their centre year up only to 2008, you will still see them flattening out. Try it yourself, it's all publicly available data.
RSS is the most authoratitive, GISS the least. A plateau is a plateau, from which one can ascend to the high peaks or descend to the valleys, or stay on the plateau. You would see it is ascending, and so would I, although I suspect at a lesser rate than you and probably only after a continuation of the plateau for maybe a decade more.

A vision for the future

You don't need good science to recognise bad science.

I don't recall ever saying we shouldn't live in a more sustainable way - to me that is a bit of a no-brainer. What I object to is the narrow-minded and high-handed way that the anti-oil (and most other things) lobby try to force their views on the rest of us.

I think, in terms of climate change, they are tilting at the wrong windmill. The result of which will be  a lot of wasted time, effort and money which could have been better spend on doing exactly what you suggest - ensuring a sustainable planet for future generations. That is of course if there are to be future generations; we would be a bit arrogant to assume we will be here forever.

We do, of course, avoid the biggest problem of all, that of overpopulation.

An illuminating 'butt'

Thank you Velcro for that illuminating 'butt'. I do not dispute that interesting addition to the debate, merely your reading of what I meant by rapid changes. The changes I refer to are the rapid increase of the concentrations of CO2, which have recently passed 400 parts per million in the atmosphere. Without going into a long explanation of what this means for the planet's health (you can look it up) or denying it has been higher in pre historic times (you can look that up too) I would like people to acknowlege the harm we are doing to ourselves at the present time.

A vision for the future

David1,  your assertion that the science behind global warming being a man made problem is 'poor' has in itself no valid science to back it up. But what if we consider your argument on it's merits, that global warming is a naturally occuring cycle that we are powerless to prevent or change. Should we then just give up our efforts to live in a more sustainable way? Are the benefits of trying to build a cleaner planet for our children not enough on their own? What is it you are objecting to exactly? That we're wrong about man made impacts and build a better environment for nothing?

Climate change ignorers?

Oh dear, vivk. You are wasting your time anyway if you won't look at the full history. I was not only referring to the so called medieval warm period, although I appreciate that is another of those inconvenient truths.
To deny the full picture, and the poor science that backs the imaginary evidence of man-made climate change, is really going to do nothing to help deal with the reality of climate change. If you want to support such scams as the carbon emmission trading scheme (similar scheme to the South Seas bubble from what I recall), that's fine. Just don't expect it to have much of an impact on the changing climate.
Please don't refer to those who disagree with the flawed idea of man made climate change as 'climate change ignorers'. I suspect most are not. Certainly the climate is changing,, but it has never been static so that is hardly surprising. Perhaps we should refer to 'climate change activists' as reality ignorers!

Denying the ignorers

That's OK Viv, I'll continue to do it. Now, where is Jimmy J these days?

Sorry to butt in

Nightimejohn: Sorry to butt in on your conversation, but I have to take issue with you a bit.
Ice core data, notably that from Gisp2, shows numerous rapid temperature rises, as or more rapid and sizable than occurred in the 1970s to 1990s. They are called Dansgaard Oeschger events.
There are also rapid coolings called Bond events - the last occurring about 1500 years ago. Some claim a cyclicity of about 1500 years in these.
The Central England Temperature record (CET) shows equally rapid rises in the 1740's, 1810's and 1880's. The temperature peak of our present Holocene interglacial occurred about 7000 years ago, from where we have been gently sliding into the next ice age, due in the coming millennium or so.
The previous interglacial, the Eemian, reached temperatures several degrees higher than today. Polar bears as a separate species evolved before the Eemian.Sorry to butt in on your pleasant conversation, nightimejohn; but I have to take issue with you a bit. Ice core data, notably that from Gisp2, show numerous rapid temperature rises, as or more rapid and sizable than has occurred in the 1970's to 1990's. They are called Dansgaard Oeschger events. There are also rapid coolings called Bond events, the last occurring about 1500 years ago. Some claim a cyclicity of about 1500 years in these. The Central England Temperature record (CET) shows equally rapid rises in the 1740's, 1810's and 1880's. The temperature peak of our present Holocene interglacial occurred about 7000 years ago, from where we have been gently sliding into the next ice age, due in the coming millennium or so. The previous interglacial,  the Eemian, reached temperatures several degrees higher than today. Polar bears as a separate species evolved before the Eemian.

Nothing new from climate change ignorers

Climate change is measured in decadal changes. 1996 was a cool year - then draw a line on a graph from 96 to now - plateau?

David 1 - sorry, but as a climate change activist with a full-time job, I don’t have time to argue with someone who brings up the medieval warm period as if it was something new to the discussion.


There must be some weird connection. I have lived in Dunedin for 15 years but lived in Aberdeen for seven. To me Aberdeen was a city of two halves, those in the oil industry and those who weren't. I wasn't. My experience was of the seedy side of the city which eventually forced me to leave. I am pretty sure that if all this comes to pass then Dunedin will be quite different. Well I certainly hope so.

If only we had the equivalent of the Ashvale . . .

Historical records

Hi David1,  I never knew you were a northerner like me (Rochdale in my case). I still believe your reading of the IPCC reports to be misinterpreted though. You imply that the evidence for warming is based on a couple of hundred years of contempory records and so is not comlete enough to give a full picture and you are not convinced by the extrapolations of a couple of trees. This is to ignore of course the evidence gathered by core ice samples taken at the poles which has shown several inter-glacial periods occuring over the last 100,000 years. Nowhere during this period has seen such rapid change as we are witnessing at present. To continue to deny that we are facing a catastrophe of global proportions by our continued use of fossil fuels is a gross breach of our social responsibility to future generations. By the way, Clitheroe is spelt with an 'e' as I'm sure you'd know if you had  lived there, but I'll accept that was a typo.

Give me that Old Time weather

David1, great to read historical evidence to make a case. In the Pleistocene Age, a warm up of 3° was catastrophic, or so it is claimed. I used to listen to 'The Clithero Kid' (BBC World Service), "with Jimmy Clitheroe as The Kid himself!".

Granite City

Yes Ian, I have visited  Aberdeen and defer to your greater knowledge of the city due to your residency there. I still hold however that despite Aberdeen's many fine qualities as a city, to compare it to the U'K's capital and describe it as more vibrant would fail to convince  any fair minded observer.

Dunedin will not be like Aberdeen

IanP. Not the fastest growing in the UK, not even the fastest growing in Scotland (here). I lived in Aberdeen for 7 years and it's OK. There are some really poor areas with major social/drug problems, schools with windows boarded up with plywood, and, in general, more income disparity than in Dunedin. Yes, there are many onshore jobs connected to the oil industry ... but Aberdeen has positioned itself as a centre for global supply. There is simply not scope for the same (competing) type of development in the middle of nowhere.


Let me ask you a question nighttimejohn - have you ever been to Aberdeen? As someone who lived there for 17years on and off I can confirm that it is a living, vibrant city with a flourishing arts, sports and social scene and has seen the largest growth in disposable income in the UK over the last 20 years. All this despite its isolation, parochialism and a climate which makes Dunedin seem tropical. And the reason? You guessed it, the oil industry..... Does it have this mythical workforce who come in, take their money and jet off again? Maybe 10% of the offshore workforce, mainly in the more technical disciplines. The offshore workforce is dwarfed by the onshore one and whether they're local or expats they all spend their money in the same place,rent the same houses and buy the same cars....


Bones: mostly I agree with you - these things are not unequivocal, just likely - if you find gas at that depth laying a pipeline back to the mainland is going to be expensive and fraught - gas companies are saying they're moving to things like FLNG (and smaller) for deep sea extraction because it makes sense. besides where would you bring a pipeline ashore? it needs a nearby deep water port - there's no where in the upper harbour (other than Aramoana, and yes, heaven forbid) to put a chiller plant and a wharf - so that leave Dunedin out as a gas base - Invercargill too (too far) - I think it's more likely  that Oamaru would be the ultimate beneficiary.

Which gets back to my main point - expecting someone to show up and shovel money into Dunedin to save its economy is just plain lazy, people have to get off their backsides and save themselves, I'm doing my part as hard as I can,  unrealistic fools need to top spending money on airplane advertising maybes and invest it in something real.


I see the pro lobby have moved on from describing the protesters as a bunch of workshy job dodging layabouts to a bunch of dangerous fanatics hell bent on doing harm. 


Maybe, Mike. Maybe not

Mike, I've worked in the O&G industry for years and, based on what I've witnessed over that time I believe that none of the statements you've presented as unequivocal fact, are. (Except perhaps the hint you make that Aramoana could be considered as the site of a gas processing facility. Every fibre in my body suggests that site will not be considered.)

If an economically viable reserve of gas was discovered off our coastline, there's every chance that gas could be piped to an onshore processing facility. (But where to locate it?) And the multi-Billion dollar facilities themselves generate 100s of jobs within their local communities, for those communities willing to engage with the industry.

Sure, FLNG remains an option, but at this stage it's just that: one option. And even if FLNG was selected, the size of the local support and service infrastructure required to support a (around) $20 Billion (or so) FLNG facility is, in itself, huge.

At this stage I know there's lots of ifs, buts and maybes. But, we'd be idiots to fail to give ourselves every chance of capitalizing on this opportunity.

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