The wheels are falling off the Government’s oil and gas strategy, with news that Norwegian oil company Statoil has given up on exploring for oil in the Reinga Basin off the Northland coast.
Statoil’s decision follows Brazilian company Petrobras, which gave up looking for oil in New Zealand in 2012, and Anadarko, which gave up in 2014. Statoil still holds a 50 percent share in an exploration permit off the Wairarapa coast.
“National’s plan to turn New Zealand into a major oil producing nation is running out of gas,” Green Party energy and resources spokesperson Gareth Hughes said.
“I’m really pleased that the chance of an oil spill on Ninety Mile Beach just dropped hugely, and I urge the Government to abandon its oil and gas strategy now that so many oil companies are giving up on New Zealand.
“This is a win for the environment, the climate, Northland iwi, and other people who opposed Statoil, and it’s also a big dent in the Government’s out-of-date resources strategy.
“It turns out the oil companies think there just isn’t much oil in New Zealand, but the Government is still desperately trying to open up another half a million square kilometres for drilling.
“We know that we can’t even burn all the oil we’ve already found if we’re going to keep climate change to a maximum of two degrees, so why are we looking for more?
“National needs to join the 21st century and stop promoting last century’s dirty fuels.
“Worldwide, countries are switching to renewable energy and I’d like to see Kiwi companies helping them do that.
“We’re really good at clean energy in New Zealand, and we should be focussing on exporting our clean energy expertise to the world,” said Mr Hughes.