Bold statement in skies by ProGas

John Penno inspects a pro-drilling banner at Taieri Airfield yesterday. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
John Penno inspects a pro-drilling banner at Taieri Airfield yesterday. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
The fight over the seabed is taking to the skies.

Pilot John Penno said yesterday he had been approached by a Dunedin businessman affiliated with the ProGas Otago group with a request to make a bold statement in the skies of Dunedin on behalf of the group.

He could not divulge details of what was planned, but he was preparing a large banner when visited by the ODT at the Taieri Airfield.

The businessman who commissioned Mr Penno said it would be a counterpunch to the actions of Oil Free Otago, such as last week's visit to the Anadarko drilling site and today's Banners on the Beach protest at St Clair Beach.

ProGas Otago's actions would be non-confrontational and ''add balance to the debate'', the businessman, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

''It's about Dunedin embracing the opportunity to be a supply base,'' he said.

''If commercial quantities of gas are found off the coast, I hope people have weighed up the benefits.''

Anadarko earlier this week started drilling off the coast of Otago. Members of Oil Free Otago will be protesting the drilling at St Clair Beach from noon today, as part of the Banners on the Beach protest taking place on about 10 beaches around the South Island.

- timothy.brown@odt.co.nz

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