Pieri Munro (in light-coloured jacket at right), of New
Zealand Petroleum and Minerals, sings a waiata before those
attending a public information session on oil and gas
exploration enter the Araiteuru marae, in Dunedin, last
night. Photo by Linda Robertson.
The next three and a-half years will probably be a busy
time for oil and gas exploration off the Otago coast, New
Zealand Petroleum & Minerals revealed last night.
The government agency's director, Andrew Annakin, made the
revelation at a public information session on oil and gas
exploration at Dunedin's Araiteuru marae last night.
A timeline display of oil and gas activities in the Otago
area showed ''exploration drilling'' was expected to occur
eight times between now and the end of 2018, while ''seismic
surveying'' was expected five times.
Mr Annakin said only Shell, which previously reported it
planned to drill for gas and oil in the Great South Basin in
early 2016, had made a commitment to drill.
Other ''exploratory drilling'', from companies including
Anadarko, TAG Oil and Greymouth Petroleum, was yet to be
confirmed. Whether the drilling went ahead would depend on
the results of seismic data.
Mr Annakin also revealed another company had ''very
recently'' applied to carry out a seismic survey covering a
large area off the Otago coast.
A number of those at the meeting expressed concern over
aspects of drilling and exploration, including the impacts on
marine life from seismic surveying.
Department of Conservation technical adviser Dave Lundquist
said there was a potential danger to sea mammals from seismic
surveying, which involved bouncing sound signals off the
Seismic surveying was being investigated as the cause of a
pilot whale beaching at Kaka Point in February. The results
of a necropsy, paid for by Shell New Zealand, were yet to be
confirmed, Mr Lundquist said.
In order to prevent surveying hurting sea life, independent
advisers and monitoring equipment were mandatory on all
seismic surveying expeditions, so work could be stopped if
animals were nearby, he said.
Representatives from the Environmental Protection Authority,
Maritime New Zealand, WorkSafe New Zealand, the Ministry for
the Environment, and the Otago Regional Council were also at