Anadarko

Seismic Vessel birthed at Dunedin – 3 Feb 2015

Oil Free Otago Press Release

3 FEB 2015
SEISMIC VESSEL PROTEST DUNEDIN PORT

Oil Free Otago say NO to Seismic Ocean Blasting – POLARCUS GO AWAY

Oil Free Otago are this morning at the Fryatt St wharf to give Anadarko and New Zealand Oil and Gas’s hired gun, the seismic vessel Polarcus Naila, an UNWELCOME.

“We here to stand up for the marine mammals” said OFO spokesperson Annabeth Cohen. “Almost half of the marine mammal species in the whole world are here off our southern coast.  They are at risk. We say to Polarcus GO AWAY, YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE”

Anadarko has contracted the Polarcus Naila to carry out seismic ocean blasting over the next four weeks in the Canterbury Basin, near their exploratory drill site. New Zealand Oil and Gas have contracted the same vessel to do even more seismic blasting in the Great South Basin.

Oil Free Otago are calling for the precautionary approach, for the sake of our ocean wildlife. “We are only just beginning to understand the damage this ocean blasting is doing. It is not up to us to prove damage – it is up to the industry to prove they are not doing harm. They have not done so” said Ms Cohen.

“Anadarko and NZOG are looking for more oil and gas that we can’t burn if the planet is to stay below two degrees of global warming – and they are harming our precious marine mammals in the process. We don’t want this destructive industry here. We will oppose it every step of the way. Instead we want a clean green future for our city.”
ENDS

Contact
OilFreeOtago@gmail.com

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ON OUR WATCH – Oil Search Puts Dolphins At Risk

Oil Free Otago member Rosemary Penwarden: “We have taken our eyes off the ball by allowing bad industry science to put the smallest, rarest and most endangered dolphins in the world into the firing line.”

Printed in the Otago Daily Times Friday 23 January 2015 Oil Search Puts Dolphins at Risk

“Rosemary Penwarden, of Waitati, links seismic testing for oil and gas with serious harm to whales and dolphins.

Please don’t read this if you want a good news story.

It’s a story of loss, of taking our eyes off the ball and letting bad stuff happen.

Maui’s dolphins used to play off the North Island’s west coast beaches the way Hector’s dolphins do off Warrington and other Dunedin beaches.

Now they face not only gill nets, but also this Government’s decision to open most of their west coast home range to oil industry seismic testing.

What is seismic testing?

I posed that question when visiting the NZ Oil and Gas ”What Lives Down Under” roadshow before it travelled to South Taranaki schools last year.

A cartoon of a bat explained the industry’s sonar technology similarity with these furry wee creatures, giving the impression of a benign series of electronic blips on a radar screen.

In reality, detonators on seismic ships such as the Aquila Explorer, now surveying in the North Island for Norwegian oil giant Statoil and soon destined for the Great South Basin off our coast, send sonic explosions every 10 to 15 seconds down hundreds of metres to penetrate the sea floor and bounce back to surface detectors, revealing possible points where oil or gas may be found.

Oil prospecting air guns reach about 260 decibels (dB) on a logarithmic scale on which it is known that anything above 170 dB disturbs marine organisms.

Seismic testing?

Seismic blasting is a more apt description.

In 2010, scientists estimated 55 Maui’s dolphins remained.

Don’t be fooled by the oil industry’s reassurance that ”there is no evidence to suggest seismic testing injures marine mammals.”

That is not science.

That is twisted logic on a par with equating furry bats with seismic ocean blasting.

The industry will argue observers on their seismic vessels halt ”blasting” when a whale or dolphin is seen, but University of Otago associate professor of zoology Dr Liz Slooten said having observers on oil survey vessels was ”virtually useless”, as observers see about only 10% of whales and dolphins in the area.

Real science tells us seismic blasting affects the behaviour of marine organisms.

In 2013, scientists concluded the mass stranding of about 100 whales northwest of Madagascar was primarily triggered by seismic blasting by a survey vessel contracted by Exxon Mobil.

In July last year, a 100-tonne blue whale washed up on Tapuae Beach in Taranaki.

Did seismic blasting kill it?

The level of decomposition suggests it died about the same time in the same area that blasting was taking place.

This week, three beached whales were found on Whatipu Beach near Auckland. Seismic blasting is occurring offshore in this area right now.

Would it be unreasonable to think that seismic blasting would injure or kill a small dolphin, dependent as it is on sensory specialisations such as echolocation for navigation, communication and feeding?

This February and March, despite the collapse in oil and gas prices, despite the cost to New Zealand Oil and Gas, Woodside Energy, Anadarko, Origin Energy and Discover Exploration Ltd, despite signs that future exploratory drilling in our remote, marginal conditions looks far from economically feasible, and despite the insanity of exploring for more oil and gas when burning already discovered reserves would take us way past 2degC of global warming and so must not occur, 3-D seismic blasting is scheduled to go ahead in the Canterbury and Great South Basins off Dunedin.

While the North Island is the Maui’s dolphin home range, our southern oceans are home to 38 of the world’s 80 whale and dolphin species.

That’s almost half of the entire world’s species in our place, in our care. On our watch.

We make sure our children wear hats in the sun. We wear seatbelts, keep left, get a warrant of fitness and do all kinds of other sensible things to avoid bad stuff happening.

We have taken our eyes off the ball by allowing bad industry science to put the smallest, rarest and most endangered dolphins in the world into the firing line.

The world is watching; the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission issued urgent recommendations in May last year to protect Maui’s dolphins, and was ignored by government.

How many years did we have ”no evidence that smoking causes lung cancer?”

How many millions of people died before the tobacco industry was held to account?

We would be naive to imagine there are still 55 Maui’s dolphins left.

The question ”Will seismic blasting mean the end of these dolphins?” has not been answered.

Until it is we should adopt the precautionary principle and avoid this harmful practice.

There may still be time to give this story a happy ending.”

Prof Bob Lloyd’s Message to Anadarko, OFO Flotilla 2014-02-09

Professor Bob Lloyd is the Director of Energy Studies in the University of Otago’s Physics Department. In this clip he challenges Anadarko’s ship the Noble Bob Douglas as it arrives to a deep-sea-drilling site off the coast of Otago. Professor Bob Lloyd is a world-class leader in the academic community who investigates the science of climate change. Here he stresses the urgency to stop the expansion of marginal fossil fuels, and why community leaders, like himself, are stepping up and saying “enough is enough”. 

Torea’s Message to Anadarko OFO Flotilla 2014-02-09

“Tōrea Scott-Fyffe, local Dunedin youth, challenges Anadarko’s Exploratory Drill Shop the Noble Bob Douglas as they arrive at the deep-sea-drilling site off the coast of Otago. Tōrea represents the next generations who demand a liveable future, which is part an clean-energy industry that provides more jobs globally and does not contribute to irreversible climate change.”

(Video 1 of 5 by Richard Simkins)

Adios Anadarko!

Adios Anadarko poster final copy

It’s party time! We are delighted to celebrate the departure of Texan giant Anadarko’s drill ship, Noble Bob Douglas, from our shores. They left empty handed – a huge win for the climate, our oceans and our campaign. Anadarko left with a very strong message from New Zealanders that we don’t want them here.
It’s been a busy summer with flotillas, summits, protests on the beaches and non-stop campaigning alongside the other oil free groups up and down the country. Our Ready Response unit made the news big time!
Now with the election looming it’s time to highlight the stupidity of the government’s fossil fuel agenda and bring in leaders who will make the transition to a lucrative green economy.

But don’t take down your signs, there’s plenty more campaigning to come with Shell and others on the horizon and the new block offers just announced. But for now, let’s take a night off to celebrate local resistance to deep sea oil and to look forward to a positive year ahead and our next win!

ADIOS ANADARKO! Don’t come back now, hear?

More Marketing Than Science

rodshow

Opinion piece by Rosemary Penwarden, published in the Wanganui Chronicle.

What kid doesn’t love dinosaurs? A big black dinosaur truck parks in the centre of town and smiling young people offer free bottled water and sign you up for some fun stuff.

You get your own ID card, swipe it at each display and are welcomed personally to learn about science. How exciting to learn that the exhaust fumes coming out of dad’s car used to be a dinosaur.

Only they didn’t. And it’s not science.

Fossil fuels were not formed from dinosaurs and most of the fossil fuels in the Taranaki region, where this truck has been touring, were laid down in the Cenozoic period after dinosaurs became extinct around 65 million years ago. Taranaki’s oil and gas is produced from decayed plant material, not dinosaur carcasses.

There is some science in the truck and some of the exhibits, along with the truck itself, are hired from the National Science-Technology Roadshow Trust, which New Zealand Oil and Gas (NZOG) sponsors to the tune of $50,000 a year and which has been travelling around New Zealand schools since 1990.

To any unsuspecting parent – and to the kids – it looks like the same old National Science-Technology Roadshow, but when I visited the “What Lives Down Under?” show in Wanganui, NZOG’s external relations manager John Pagani explained that this roadshow is a joint effort by NZOG, Canada’s TAG Oil and Australian company Beach Energy.

About 900 Wanganui kids visited the truck, and the roadshow is visiting Taranaki schools.

Each display emphasised our need for oil and gas and how safe it is, reinforced with images of sleek, shiny cars, expensive boats and planes. My impression of the displays was that they were done by marketing people, not scientists.

For example, the seismic testing display used a cute picture of a bat to explain the sonar technology. There was no mention, or aural examples, of the seismic explosions that have been shown to harm marine life.

There was a lot missing from NZOG, TAG Oil and Beach Energy’s version of “science”, notably any mention of climate change and the effect on the climate of exploring for and burning more oil and gas.

Why tour Wanganui and South Taranaki? Next year the companies will be drilling an exploratory well, Kaheru, 12km off Patea at a water depth of 20-30m in a previously unexplored part of the South Taranaki Bight just north of Wanganui.

The industry knows it hasn’t always managed its external relations well and this, Mr Pagani said, was a way of “trying to start a conversation”.

Why target children? Why not have a public meeting and explain to the adults what you’re planning? He said public meetings didn’t bring people in, while a roadshow would. It brings the parents, too, and staff were there to answer questions.

A young employee in the truck said she had been a bit concerned about the industry targeting children, but her boss thought public meetings disruptive, so they were going for something positive. Does being positive allow you to alter scientific facts?

It takes roughly six to 10 years for a newly-discovered oil or gas field, like Kaheru, to reach full production and, depending on its size, production might last a further 40 years. By then, around mid-century, most of the children at the roadshow will be taxpaying adults and parents.

By then – according to 97 per cent of the world’s climate scientists – we need to have stopped burning CO2.

If we are to take the science seriously, most of the assets on the oil and gas companies’ balance sheets must remain unburned. Only then, scientists say, is there a chance of preserving a habitable future climate.

Mr Pagani said he does not think it fair, all this talk about the destruction of our children’s future. He thinks there is a wonderful future ahead for them.

I agree but it has to be founded on a truthful understanding of climate science, and on the essential but short-term role of his industry as we transition to a low-carbon future.

As long as Mr Pagani and industry investors continue to push – even to kids – their version of a future more related to increasing profit than reality, there is little hope.

Rosemary Penwarden is a Dunedin grandmother, freelance writer and member of Oil Free Otago.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503423&objectid=11212754&ref=rss

Whose Seas Are These?

Guest Blog
by Rev Dr Peter Matheson
Reverend Doctor Peter Matheson, former lecturer in theology, sends a message to the drill ship the Noble Bob Douglas explaining his opposition to deep sea drilling.  The Oil Free Otago flotilla is a coalition of Otago residents who oppose deep sea drilling off our coast. Photo by Nick Tapp - nicktappvideo.com

Reverend Doctor Peter Matheson, former lecturer in theology, sends a message to the drill ship the Noble Bob Douglas explaining his opposition to deep sea drilling. The Oil Free Otago flotilla is a coalition of Otago residents who oppose deep sea drilling off our coast. Photo by Nick Tapp – nicktappvideo.com

Whose Seas Are These?

Aged 75, I  was  on a yacht for the first time in my life, the heave of the open ocean
beneath my feet.  There were eight of us, soon melded into a team under  Henk, our
charismatic captain:  Brendan a kaitiaki from the Karitane marae, Damien, from Radio
Live, Jeremy, conservation consultant, Niamh,  spokesperson for Oil Free  Otago, Bob,
scientific expert on global warming, and  Ian, a film-maker.  Majestic it felt, heading up
the harbour on full sail,  little groups  on headlands waving placards and cheering us on,
cars  tooting approval. With our sister-ship, the Erewhon, the send-off from Dunedin
Habour reminded us  of the many  environmental, scientific, church, community groups
we represented.
It was misty, quite chilly up top. I was glad of my Swan-Dry.   Our mission was to
confront the drilling-ship, the Noble Bob Douglas, using the sling-shot of words
against this Texan intruder, whose exclusion zone, as Brendan  pointed out, blocked the
traditional passage-way of the waka.  “Whose seas are these?” he asked on
radio-telephone, as  the huge bulk of the drilling ship loomed over us. No answer, of
course.
Good not to live in Putin’s Russia, though.  Our right to protest was respected by
Anadarko.  Yet they appeared to play sneaky games, shutting off their positioning gear,
so we  could not calculate their time of arrival at the drilling site, 65 kilometers off  our
coast.  So we waited  the night out off Aramoana, scene of another successful protest
three decades  ago against that aluminium smelter.
“Whose seas are these?”  Occasionally I’ve seen an albatross or two at the Heads. But
here they were all round the boat, wheeling, soaring, resting on the water, dozens of
them. Petrels, seven other varieties of birds, seals, we even saw two spouting whales.
When eventually the supply boat of the drilling ship bore down on us, a cordon of
toroa,  of albatross sat on the waves as if to protect us. Incredible!   Unforgetable!
Two worlds confronted one another.  The cultivated voice of the American captain
graciously permitted us  to  speak our piece.  First an impassioned address in te reo by
Waiariki, then seventeen year old Toria, hoping desperately her generation would still
have a world to live in (both from the Erewhon), me on the moral challenge, Bob Lloyd
on the insanity of deep sea drilling from a scientific point of view, Niamh, reminding
the intruders of our community support, finally Brendan: “Whose  seas are these?”
“You can’t build a  society on greed”  David Hume, the great Scottish enlightenment
philosopher once said.  “ Sin is bad, but stupidity is irredeemable”, as  Dietrich
Bonhoeffer, appalled by  Nazi Germany put it.   Greed and stupidity  are powering this
drive to Deep Sea  Oil, supported (alas ) by Government, vast financial interests, by the
majority of the media.  Ordinary good, decent  people  still think we can power on as
we are, relying  on  more and more oil.  Yet we only have ten years to dramatically
decrease the carbon emissions, before  we  overrun the  2% increase in global warming,
and  then  we’re  into a truly apocalyptic scenario.  “Woe unto you,” said the Hebrew
prophets.
At heart it’s a question  of  moral authority and whether rationality will prevail.  Whom do
you believe? Anadarko, the Government, have all the power. But do you believe them? Can
you trust them with the lives of our children and children’s children? That is the question
our symbolic protest poses. A dramatic turn-around towards sustainability is the greatest
ethical challenge of our time, and every one of us has the responsibility to rub our eyes,
wake up, and engage with this debate. We’re not asking you to believe us, but to look at the
evidence, face the despair, to overcome it by taking appropriate action. The prayer of those
of us on the Tiama and the Erehwon is that you ask our leaders, with life and death urgency,
to think again.