The Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (Pepanz) has expressed disappointment at what it described as a “media stunt” from environmental campaigner Greenpeace. Protestors jumped into the water in front of seismic survey vessel Amazon Warrior (IMO 9662394) on April 9th. Amazon Warrior is operating about 50-kilometres off the coast of the North Island and is towing several large streamers, which stretch many kilometres behind it. Local reports claimed that Greenpeace New Zealand’s CEO Russel Norman could face jail after jumping into the sea in front of the Amazon Warrior.
Pepanz CEO Cameron Madgwick said that the size of the Amazon Warrior made it difficult for it to stop or turn quickly, which was why the vessel was operating with a 500-metre non-interference zone. “While the actions of the protestors were not a surprise and had been planned for, the protestors put themselves into a potentially dangerous situation by placing themselves in the vessels path. While we absolutely respect the right of Greenpeace to protest, this sort of action is just stupid.”
Mr Madgwick said that Pepanz had attempted to engage Greenpeace in discussion, including inviting them to the New Zealand Petroleum Conference, but said that Greenpeace had declined these invitations.
“The reality is the world’s energy demand is growing and we simply cannot switch off our use of fossil fuels overnight. Oil and gas are not only used in transport, but also to heat our homes, cook our food and create a huge range of essential goods”, he said.
Mr Madgwick said the work of Amazon Warrior would help New Zealand understand better what petroleum reserves it might have. “Oil and gas could deliver enormous economic benefit to New Zealanders. A significant find could result in billions of dollars in new investment, more highly skilled jobs for our young people and provide increased taxes and royalties to fund government services”, he said. www.pepanz.com