media release 1 October: No matter the oil price – Deep Sea Drilling Has No Future

Oil Free Otago are pleased to hear that Shell has decided to postpone drilling in the Great South Basin (GSB) this summer, one day after announcing it is pulling out of all drilling in the Arctic.

“Shell should relinquish their Great South Basin permit and pull out completely” said Oil Free Otago’s Rosemary Penwarden, “just like they are pulling out of all drilling in the Arctic.”

“Both the Arctic and the deep sea GSB are marginal frontier regions. Scientists tell us this marginal oil or gas is unburnable if we are to retain a liveable world of under two degrees of global warming.”

“That is why, no matter the price of oil, deep sea drilling in the southern ocean, like drilling in the Arctic, has no future. We want a liveable world and we will oppose Shell, Anadarko and the others every step of the way.”

Shell say their decision to retreat from the Arctic was due to a lack of oil, and that postponement of drilling in the GSB is because of the need for further geological interpretation of the basin.

“Shell say they need more time to evaluate the complex geology of the Great South Basin” said Ms Penwarden. “More likely, they need more time to figure out how on earth to satisfy their shareholders now that there is no future for deep sea drilling, let alone the planet, if marginal oil exploration continues.”



Letter to Shell: Now Stay Away From The Great South Basin

OFO ready response practice run 12 January 2014

Dear Shell NZ,
Yesterday Shell pulled out of drilling in the Arctic. This is such good news for millions of people worldwide. We have one planet and the race is on to save it. The people are winning.
We are writing to demand that you now cease any further plans to drill in the Great South Basin, off the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island.
Your industry is a rogue industry without the social licence to continue. Already discovered oil and gas must remain unburned for global warming to keep below an un-survivable tipping point. New frontier exploration must cease.
Like the Arctic, the deep ocean of the Great South Basin is frontier territory. Any hydrocarbon discoveries in this region are unburnable if we are to retain a liveable planet. You have no right to continue; your extreme destructive behaviour is putting us all at risk.
Remember the kayaktavists of Seattle? Be prepared for similar opposition in New Zealand. All further efforts to drill here will be strongly opposed.
Shell: pull out of the Great South Basin now, or expect resistance. The people are building a better, fairer world and we are winning. Get out of the way.
Yours sincerely

Press Release: The ‘game-changer’ we need is renewable


Oil Free Otago Press Release 3 August 2015

The ‘game-changer’ we need is renewable

Oil Free Otago agrees with New Zealand Oil and Gas (NZOG) CEO Andrew Knight, that his proposal to drill in 2017 off Oamaru would be a ‘game-changer’ (ODT 31 July 2015).

“NZOG’s latest proposal is a game-changer – but in exactly the wrong direction” said Oil Free Otago spokesperson Rosemary Penwarden “It means more of the same when what we urgently need is a switch away from fossil fuels.”

NZOG is calling for joint venture partners to test drill in the Barque prospect off the Oamaru coast in 2017. CEO Andrew Knight is talking up the prospect by saying it could be of the scale of Maui, the country’s largest field off Taranaki.

“Andrew Knight is enthusiastically calling for partners to help him further destroy the climate. Not only is he studiously ignoring the truth about climate change, but he is also betting on the governments of the world doing nothing to keep us below 2 degrees. He is quite cynically betting on our future.” Ms Penwarden said.

“NZOG’s game-changing scenario goes something like this: talk up short term profit, pass two degrees, contribute further to ocean acidification, food and water shortages and unliveable climate – Game Over. Where will his shareholders put their money then?

Andrew Knight should know Oil Free Otago will oppose NZOG plans for further deep sea drilling every step of the way. He should expect resistance. The game-changer we really need is renewable.”




Event: Black Water Poetry Evening


Oil Free Otago hosts a poetry evening at Dog with Two Tail on Sunday 9 August at 7pm. All are welcome to write and/or read poetry to the theme “Calm before the Storm”. Submit intent to read to

There is a $5 entry. This event is a flotilla fundraiser as there will be deep sea drilling in the moana of Aotearoa this summer 2016.

Max capacity of the venue is 50 persons.

Facebook Event Link

Share and distribute poster and flyers below:


Black Water- Poster fix (1)


Black Water- flyer fix (1)


Open Lecture: Can we stay below 2 deg C? Will NZ govt assist this target?


Open Lecture by Professor Dr. Bob Lloyd

Can we stay below 2 degrees and will NZ INDCs assist this target?

When: Thursday 23 July, 2015, 4-5 pm

Where: Seminar Room, 563 Castle Street

About the talk:

Bob will outline the difficulty of staying below two degrees as presented in the 5th IPCC mitigation report. He will also clarify the various terminology used by the IPCC reporting as this is confusing  when considering mitigation options. Then he will analyse the NZ INDC contribution and show that instead of obtaining a reduction in emissions from the 1990 level the NZ Government is actually promising an increase in both the gross CO2 equivalent and the gross CO2 levels.

About the Speaker:

profDRBLOriginally from Australia, Dr Bob Lloyd came to New Zealand in 2002 after  working for the Australian Co-operative Research Centre for Renewable Energy (ACRE), at Murdoch University in Perth where he worked on renewable energy systems for remote areas and managed  various research projects including wind power, fuel cells, advanced battery systems and PV diesel hybrid systems. At ACRE he coordinated and edited a major review of standards in place for renewable energy systems in Australia which also included a section on training opportunities available in Australia in the renewable energy sector. Bob was also involved in managing the research program for the Centre for Appropriate Technology (Alice Springs) where he undertook an extensive survey of remote off grid PV systems located in Aboriginal communities.  He has also extensive experience in the Pacific  based at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji for nearly 20 years with 10 years as Director of the Institute of Applied Science.

He was the Director of Energy Studies at Otago University (Physics Department) until early 2015 with research interests in energy conservation in residential housing and energy management, including world energy resources and the implications of fossil fuel use on climate change. He is now part time at Otago University  pursuing independent consultant opportunities in particular assisting Pacific Nations sort out their INDCs.

Please see  for more information.

Grand Opening: OFO goes electric

oil free otago goes electric


16 July 2015

Oil Free Otago Getting On with Going Off Fossil Fuels

Oil Free Otago have joined with other community groups in Dunedin to form Valley Community Workspace Inc.(VCW), and are getting on with going off fossil fuels. The groups, including Transition Valley 473, The Valley Project, Dunedin Makerspace and others, plan to work collaboratively in the former Allen St Motor Museum, North East Valley, on electric car conversions, bike library and repairs, electric bikes, 3D printing, weaving and other activities, with the aim of promoting a cultural change to a socially just, low carbon future.

“We need to start changing the way we do things.” said Oil Free Otago’s spokesperson Rosemary Penwarden. “Exploring for more oil and gas off our coast will provide neither local jobs nor a stable climate. More fossil fuel exploration is head-in-the-sand thinking. Instead, we want to get on with building a future that will provide jobs and skills for our young people and that will survive in a world without fossil fuels – with the emphasis on ‘doing’.”

Oil Free Otago and VCW are having an Open Day 10am this Saturday 18 July at 11 Allen St, North East Valley, Dunedin. Locally converted electric vehicles will be on display, along with electric bikes, a 3D printer and a hand loom.

Oil Free Otago

grand open

Activists scale Parliament House to expose National failure on #realClimateAction

Greenpeace NZ Press Release

“Wellington, June 25: Four Greenpeace campaigners have evaded security and climbed to the roof of Parliament House with a delivery of eight solar panels. They also plan to unfurl a large banner targeting the Prime Minister.
“Cut pollution, create jobs? Yeah, nah” reads the banner text, which sits alongside a smiling headshot of John Key. The message refers to the Key Government’s failure to act on climate change, which has seen pollution increase and New Zealand miss out on creating thousands of clean energy jobs.

The activists have lined the ledge just below the building’s roofline with solar panels, and are using them to power their phones and connect to the internet to communicate with people around the world.

Chief policy advisor for Greenpeace New Zealand, Nathan Argent, says with people now shovelling mud out of their homes and counting the cost of the latest extreme weather events, there is no excuse for doing nothing.

“Our government needs to put in place a real climate action plan now. John Key has had seven years to take climate change seriously and to take action, but instead he’s failed to introduce a single piece of law to reduce climate pollution. Pollution is only growing and it will cost our economy billions in the future” he says.

By the government’s own figures, the increase in total emissions by 2020 will be almost 30% worse than it was in 1990.

“Instead of investing in clean energy, this government has handed over millions in taxpayer’s money to some of the world’s biggest polluters to drill our seas for oil,” he says.

 “A real climate action plan would shift us to 100% clean energy. This will cut pollution, create tens of thousands of jobs, and provide a multibillion dollar boost year-on-year to the economy. ”

Detailed energy modelling by the world renowned German Aerospace Centre (DLR) has already shown that New Zealand can be 92% fossil fuel free across the economy by 2050, and oil free for road transport within two decades.

But despite our huge clean energy potential, New Zealand is fast becoming one of the world’s worst laggards on climate action, which risks damaging our reputation, Argent says.
In a New Zealand first, the group on the roof of Parliament House are using the application Periscope to provide live streaming of the protest, giving people all over the world the chance to watch the event in real-time from a bird’s-eye perspective.

They are also holding what they’ve coined a “Reddit on the Roof” session, which allows anyone to use Reddit, a user-generated webpage popular for its “Ask Me Anything” section, to ask them questions. 

Experienced climber Johno Smith is one of the four.

He recently made headlines as the only Kiwi among six global activists who climbed aboard a 38,000-tonne Shell oil rig in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and camped there for a week to protest against the oil giant’s plans to drill in the delicate Arctic.


Notes to reader:

– To follow the event live on Periscope or connect to the Reddit on the Roof session, visit the Greenpeace NZ Twitter page for links @GreenpeaceNZ

– Photos and videos will be available to download on the day here.

– Activist Johno Smith will be available for media calls while he is on Parliament House.”