Three Oil Free Wellington activists locked on together at the entrance of the New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals headquarters in Wellington to protest the 15 new oil and gas permits which have been announced by the Government today. The activists were subsequently arrested.
Fifteen new permits have been granted both on and offshore with a total acreage of 47,690 square kilometers. The permits include new areas open for deep sea oil exploration off of Wellington’s coast in the Pegasus Basin, which have been granted to Statoil and Chevron.
“Today members of Oil Free Wellington have locked themselves to the NZ Petroleum and Mineral’s office to send a clear message to the Government: These permits are not permitted,” said Oil Free Wellington spokesperson Michelle Ducat.
“2014 was the hottest year on record. The science of climate change is clear. We must act urgently to transition away from fossil fuels. We can’t sit by while our Government carves up our oceans and land for more fossil fuel exploration. In the face of the urgency of climate change, these Wellingtonians are using their bodies to get in the way of business as usual.”
“We’re here in solidarity with all communities affected by these plans; those in Northland, those in Taranaki, those in Otago and across Aotearoa and all of the communities across the globe who are and will be devastated by climate change.”
“While the rich perpetuate climate change, it is the poor; particularly indigenous communities and women, across the world who are most effected by climate change. We’re here to stand alongside them. Enough is enough,” said Ducat. “The Government should expect resistance to its planned expansion of fossil fuels.”
Chevron confirms the award
Meanwhile, Chevron, the U.S. based oil company, has confirmed it has been granted exploration rights to three blocks located offshore New Zealand, promising to maintain highest safety standards with exploration works.
“This award adds to Chevron’s range of potential long-term options in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Melody Meyer, president of Chevron Asia Pacific Exploration and Production Company. “Chevron’s approach to this project will be guided by our commitment to maintain the highest environmental and safety standards.”
The three petroleum exploration permits – 57083, 57085 and 57087 – in the offshore Pegasus and East Coast basins, cover more than 6.26 million acres (25,300 sq. km), and are located southeast of North Island. Chevron New Zealand Exploration Ltd. will be the operator of the blocks with a 50 percent working interest. Statoil will hold the remaining 50 percent interest.