Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Wednesday, February 5: Reports that Austrian oil giant OMV has accidentally cut through its own drill shaft while exploring for oil and gas off the Otago coast is indicative of the risks associated with oil drilling, according to Greenpeace.
Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, Amanda Larsson, says the accident shows oil companies are unable to predict what’s going to happen when drilling for oil.
“OMV is carrying out the riskiest kind of oil drilling in the world in the deep seas off our coasts, against a backdrop of tens of thousands of people up and down the country standing in opposition to them,” she says.
“This company has completely ignored the widespread concerns of New Zealanders, instead insisting time and again how safe their operations are. Accidents like this are reflective of the fact that when you’re drilling kilometres deep into the sea floor, you simply can’t predict what could go wrong.”
In New Zealand, OMV has been carrying out drilling at similar depths to that of the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, which saw 65,000 tonnes of oil disgorge into the ocean, causing mass devastation to the surrounding environment and wildlife.
That well took 87 days to cap, required the use of nearly 900 oil skimmers, around 6,000 vessels, and cost the economy $62 billion.
OMV’s safety plans and oil spill modelling for its work in New Zealand have previously been met with criticism.
Although the company provided some information for its Great South Basin drill site, an independent analysis commissioned by Greenpeace found it to be badly lacking.
Larsson says new oil and gas exploration has no place in New Zealand.
“Nobody wants to see oil washing onto New Zealand’s beaches or killing our unique and rare wildlife. Polluting companies like OMV are putting their profits ahead of all of us, and all the things we love and value. They’re risking everything, and they can’t even get the basics right,” she says.
“Time’s up for the companies and governments supporting the search for new oil and gas in full knowledge that burning these fuels is what’s driving extreme and deadly weather events like the Australian bushfires.
“The New Zealand Government needs to listen to the people and put its money where its mouth is on climate change. This means investing billions in the transition to clean energy, starting with putting solar on half a million homes to put power back into the hands of New Zealand families.”