Norwegian oil giant Statoil has struck out in the Reinga Basin and pulled the pin on exploration – denting the government’s resources strategy.When put up for tender in 2010, the area was described by government agency GNS Sciences as one of the most prospective frontier basins in New Zealand.
Statoil said strong opposition from some iwi and environmental groups to its programme off Northland’s west coast had not played a part in its decision to surrender the permit.
‘Some may speculate we are surrendering the permits for various reasons but the only reason is that we see the probability too low to justify continuing our search’ said Statoil New Zealand country manager Brynjulv Klove.
In a world class display of hypocrisy – after opening up the world’s largest marine sanctuary and vowing to reduce fossil fuel subsidies the New Zealand government has opened up a marine reserve of the world’s rarest dolphin for oil exploration – most significantly, seismic surveys.Maui’s dolphin or popoto is the world’s rarest and smallest known subspecies of dolphin.
The Maui dolphin is the world’s rarest with under 60 individuals remaining in the wild – all in the waters around New Zealand.
The area that was opened for exploration overlaps 3000 square kilometres into the sanctuary including some large areas of the Tarnaki coast in the north island.
However, the government doesn’t appear to be too worried.
‘I think primarily once you go from exploration right through to production you’re not jeopardising the wildlife’ says Minister of Energy and Resources Mr Bridges.