OMV Stay Away


“Stay Away from the  Great South Basin (GSB)” was the message loud and clear from Oil Free Otago at St Clair beach today (Saturday 18 May).  

OMV is planning an exploratory drill in permit PEP50119 in deep water about 150 km from Dunedin as early as this summer.The Austrian oil giant purchased Shell’s remaining assets there last year for $790 million.

“Today all over the world people like us remember the Deepwater Horizon oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico by joining hands across the sand. OMV’s planned drill is exploratory and in deep water, just like the Deepwater Horizon was. But OMV’s planned drill is in more treacherous marginal conditions. Help is nowhere near. OMV can never exclude the risk of a catastrophic oil spill or gas blowout” said Oil Free Otago’s Rosemary Penwarden.

“Our bodies form a symbolic line in the sand to say No More to fossil fuel exploration in our oceans.”

A letter to OMV was signed at the event and Oil Free Otago is gathering a ready response team of people to oppose OMV at short notice.

“We are building up a team to oppose OMV with harbour blockades and the like. We are serious about protecting our southern ocean, our way of life and our children’s future. OMV has no place here.”

Here’s our letter:

18 May 2019

Alan Clare

Exploration and Appraisal Manager,

OMV New Zealand

The Magestic Centre

100 Willis St

Wellington 6011

We, the undersigned, demand that OMV surrender their Great South Basin permit PEP 50119 immediately.

We, the people of Dunedin, Otago, have again gathered to oppose your company OMV’s intention to drill for oil and gas in our southern ocean.

We have written to you before but you are not listening. As we have already told you, New Zealanders have a strong history of resistance wherever we see injustice. The biggest injustice facing us today is the breakdown of our climate system. 

Since we last wrote cities around the world have declared a climate emergency, including Christchurch and Nelson in Aotearoa NZ. School children have walked out of school in their thousands to demand a liveable future. Average atmospheric CO2 concentrations at Mauna Loa observatory have reached 415ppm. This January the US Midwest froze while Australia burned, while five months earlier 11 massive wildfires raged within the arctic circle.  

The Great South Basin is marginal, dangerous and infinitely precious to us. We cannot burn most of the already discovered oil and gas to stay within a survivable limit of global warming. As each day passes your intention to drill for more unburnable oil and gas becomes more untenable. It is madness. It is both unjust and immoral. We will resist you every step of the way.

We humans face the future together. Your children as well as ours will suffer from continuing burning of fossil fuels, keeping your heads in the sand and continuing with Business as Usual. Your industry belongs in the past. Why not, instead of wasting more money on exploring for a stranded asset in an inhospitable ocean, help us all by investing in a fairer, non carbon energy future?

Yours sincerely

Oil Free Otago 

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