Support for oil giant

Alan Seay
Alan Seay
Dunedin businesses, and several city councillors, are throwing their arms wide open to oil exploration giant Anadarko.

A group of six Anadarko representatives, in the city this week for a series of "community engagement" meetings, will be greeted this morning with a two-page spread in the Otago Daily Times and an open letter from the Otago Chamber of Commerce welcoming the company to the city.

The letter is supported by 155 businesses and organisations, MP Michael Woodhouse and seven city councillors.

The company plans to explore for oil off Oamaru in late 2013, after a global shortage of rigs delayed its exploration drilling programme.

The Anadarko group met local iwi representatives and Mayor Dave Cull yesterday and are to meet the chamber and others early this week.

Company representatives have visited Dunedin regularly over the past few years.

Anadarko director of external communications Alan Seay said the company had no announcements to make and was in the city mostly on "community engagement" work this time.

Last night, Mr Cull said his fourth meeting with the company had been "excellent, informative and interesting" and he encouraged others to meet them.

"I took a few things away from it, but mostly that anything that happens to Dunedin in a positive sense would be quite some years away after exploration, even if they do have a massive find."

Supporters say the company could bring new industry, jobs and income to Dunedin if it uses the city as its base.

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie wanted to let Anadarko know many businesses were following its progress and the red carpet was rolled out.

The city councillors listed in the advertisement are Crs Bill Acklin, Syd Brown, John Bezett, Colin Weatherall, Andrew Noone, Paul Hudson and Neil Collins.

Most did not return calls last night, but Cr Noone said it was important to remember Dunedin was not the only place the company could base itself.

He had not seen any information on the actual economic impact the programme could have on Dunedin, but a round-the-clock exploration operation would need resupplying and it would be sensible to make sure it was based in Dunedin.

The chamber has previously expressed concern over "negative comments" from the city council.

Cr Jinty MacTavish has expressed doubts about the economic benefits.

Last night, Cr MacTavish said she was "bemused" by the chamber's approach.

"I would like to see justification for why the chamber thinks its presence will bring such a positive economic impact with it.

"I'm not aware of any analysis on that and, if there has been some on our region, I haven't seen it. "

The only places that had benefited from finds were where there was heavy regulation of the industry and regional redistribution of royalties, she said.


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