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Concerns Over Offshore Drilling Safety

December 11, 2012

The New Zealand government just finishing awarding a total of 10 gas and oil exploration permits that last for five years on Tuesday as an effort for more strategic management of known and potential reserves. Some of these permits include lots in the seldom explored waters in New Zealand’s southern region.

There were five offshore drilling permits and five onshore drilling permits awarded, with the majority being in the Taranaki region, which currently is the only area in the country that is commercially producing oil and gas, with the production being close to a worth of just a little over $2.1 billion US dollars a year and provides over 5,000 jobs to the people in the area.

There was some controversy as Texas-based Anardarko, a company that had a few months backed announced plans for abanding deep see drilling off the west cost of the North Island, ended up winning two permits for the Pegasus Basin.

“The aim is for New Zealand to have an economically sustainable industry that supports the local economy and our international competiveness for the foreseeable future,” Heatley said.

There is some concern however as the opposition Green Party stated that they felt the government was gambling not only with New Zealand’s environment but with the economy as well, specifically by awarding the deep sea drilling permits to Anardarko. The reasoning is due to the fact that Anardarko has been found to be partially at fault for the Gulf of Mexico fiasco in 2010 as it had a 25-percent stake in the exploration and drilling that was done there.

The Green Party is troubled by the fact that all profits that Anardarko generates will be taken offshore and not put back into New Zealand. Add to the fact that if any disaster occurs and it will be New Zealand that will pay dearly for the problems.

You can read more about the concerns New Zealand has over the offshore drilling permits.


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