A Texas oil company which is expected to start exploratory
oil and gas drilling off the Oamaru coast has been told the
public expects it to ensure the environmental safety of a
coast that is home to a yellow-eyed penguin colony at Bushy
Beach and a colony of little blue penguins at Cape Wanbrow.
Oil company Anadarko is due to begin oil and gas exploration
drilling off the Otago coast in early 2014, and Waitaki Mayor
Alex Familton said he had now met company representatives.
Mr Familton said he had told Anadarko representatives that
the community would be interested in seeing the company
create a presence in the district, but, he said, he had also
told them the community had ''an interest in preserving our
very important'' penguin populations.
''They have taken that on board and there will be a clause in
association with any drilling that will give assurance and
assistance in any event that may be detrimental to the
Anadarko NZ corporate relations manager Alan Seay said an
exploration vessel was due to arrive in New Zealand early
next year to conduct test drilling off the Taranaki coast and
the Canterbury Basin, with drilling off the Otago coast
likely to start early in 2014.
''The key area of interest to the communities and most of the
people we have been talking to is environmental protection,
whatever form that may take, and the assurance is given that
we follow the most rigid procedures and practices in terms of
environmental safety with the primary goal of assuring that
no event happens.''
In the ''extremely unlikely event'' a mishap did happen, the
company was committed to doing whatever was necessary to put
it right, he said.