Shell NZ

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
OIL FREE OTAGO

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?

Guest Post: Is the “Aberdeen of the South” an idea past its time?

Is the “Aberdeen of the South” an idea past its time?

Guest post by Professor Colin Campbell-Hunt

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There are very many of us in Dunedin who will want to welcome Shell and the promise of economic activity that exploration brings. If I were to look ahead only 10 years I might be one. But I have learned a thing or two about oil and gas in the last few years that would urge caution. This is an industry that only has a decade or so of growth left, so if we want our city to invest in infrastructure for industries that will secure our prosperity for the future, oil and gas exploration should be well down the list. Here’s why.

First, even the short-term benefits may be much less than we might think. A 2012 study by the economic consultancy BERL concludes that the prime contractor for engineering and construction would be a large offshore-based multinational. Some sub-contracting work may come to local New Zealand firms, but BERL concludes that few New Zealand companies outside of Taranaki have the expertise required to win contracts for the work.

Second, the same BERL study concludes that the number of sustained jobs created for the local economy would settle at around 200 following a spurt of up to 1,000 jobs during a three-year development phase. It is unlikely that the oil or gas produced would come ashore; more likely it would be shipped directly from a sea-based platform.

So far, the project looks to make reasonable sense, both for Shell, and for Dunedin. But look out beyond 2020 and the horizon looks a lot darker for the oil industry.

The third – and far more serious concern – arises from the effect on the planet’s climate of burning fossil fuels and releasing carbon dioxide CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Climate modellers at the Potsdam Institute in Germany estimate that if we put another 500 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere beyond 2013 levels, we would face a one-in-four chance of the planet warming by more than 2C. And if we were to increase that to 1,000 billion tonnes, the chances rise to 50:50.

So how much CO2 is there for us to burn? A 2013 study by the Grantham Institute at the London School of Economics reports that the world’s current proven reserves already contain between 3 and 6 times more CO2 than we could safely throw into the skies. Corporate oil alone has more than enough reserves to blow out the 500 billion tonne budget.

Why does the 2C limit matter? Beyond 2C, science warns that we open ourselves to the possibility of runaway climate change wreaking serious havoc to the world’s population, economy, food supply and political stability. These are not the wild imaginings of prophets of doom who would urge us to climb up a hill somewhere and wait for the world to end. These are level-headed assessment of risks that the human (and non-human) populations of earth are facing right now.

So where is this going to leave the oil industry? At the present rate of emissions, we will hit the 500 billion tonne warning sign in just ten years. If we wanted to keep our chances of avoiding more radical change to just 1-in-4, that would have to be the end of CO2 emissions – not another tonne, ever. Of course that is not going to happen. We are riding on a super tanker that is going to take years to bring to a halt, and this is something that is increasingly accepted – with dismay – by the people who follow these trends. The fact that the oil industry is willing to invest in exploration for new sources of hydrocarbon when we already have far more than we should ever burn tells us that they don’t believe the political will to change our ways will stiffen up any time soon. Which in turn tells us that we, the voters, want to keep our good life for as long as we can too.

But spool forward 10 years, or twenty. The pressures of climate change are only going to get stronger; the realisation of the risks we are running can only get firmer; the prospect of controls being placed on the burning of CO2 can only get greater. A far-offshore gas field is expected to have a life of 35 years. If we are beginning to understand the dangers of climate change now in 2014, we can be very sure they will have radically changed the rules for the oil industry by 2060.

So should Dunedin hitch its economic wagon to this dying industry? Should we be building the public infrastructures to support an industry that has such a poor long-term future? Should we be anxious to attract a business that might deliver 1,000 jobs for three years, then only a quarter of that for however many years it takes before expensive deep sea gas wells get shut down – if indeed they are ever put into production?

There has to be a better way. Developing assets – both physical and human – for the city’s infrastructure to be ready for a low-carbon economy and low-carbon lifestyles will give us a far greater chance of delivering benefit over their productive life than any investments we may be tempted to devote to a dying oil industry.

Colin Campbell-Hunt is a Professor in the University of Otago Business School and has written widely on New Zealand’s competitiveness.

Beach Cleaners Protest Shell

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Oil Free Otago staged a ‘beach cleaner’ protest outside Community House on Thursday, where Shell Oil were meeting with environmental groups about their plans for drilling off our coasts in the Great South Basin.

This meeting was part of Shell’s campaign to legitimise their claim that “Environmental concerns are very close to our heart.” To this, we say “Fui”, something Dave’s nana used to say to mean “bullshit”. Shell have a terrible safety and environmental track record. For example, Shell spilled nearly 14,000 tonnes of crude oil into the creeks of the Niger Delta in 2011, they have also recently had to cancel their plans to drill for oil in the Arctic this year.

Our first objective for the day was to engage with members of the public to make them aware of the deep-sea oil risk that is being posed to our coasts. We had an overwhelmingly positive response, with many members of the public joining us in protest for various periods of time.

It was our goal to ensure that Shell is aware that they, and any other oil companies, are unwelcome to drill off the coasts of Otago. We achieved this by, very ‘vocally’, escorting’ the Shell representatives to their car (which we noted was parked in the Countdown carpark, rather than in legal pay-and -display parking 😉  ). They were certainly in a hurry to leave.

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Derek Onley, who attended the meeting on behalf of  the  Ornithological Society, said,

“There was little new information.Shell have back-pedaled on their ’empty-ocean’ stance, and are now accepting that yes, the ocean is full of creatures. In fact, they now agree that their drill site is in the middle of a whale migration zone. They mentioned that if there was an oil blow out, it would take relief response at least 14 days to arrive here from Singapore.”

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Shell said that they have still not decided whether or not they will go ahead and drill.

Oil Free Otago will continue to oppose Shell and Anadarko at every step of the way.

http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/267143/oil-free-otago-protests-outside-meeting

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Lush Support on World Oceans Day

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The serious business of shopping was interrupted on Saturday by scantily clad oily people at Lush that caught the attention of bemused shoppers – and their other halves.Lush

Oil Free Otago members held the event, in conjunction with Lush, to coincide with World Oceans Day. On World Oceans Day and we wanted to alert Dunedin people that our ocean is at risk. Anadarko, partners in BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, are coming to drill for oil off our coast this summer. Shell are also looking to start deep sea drilling in the Great South Basin soon.While these companies get tax exemptions, government subsidies and almost all the profit, we get all the risk of an oil spill.

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What about the jobs and prosperity Anadarko and Shell might bring to Dunedin? Check out last year’s Ministry of Economic Development report (Regional Impacts of a New Oil or Gas Field).This report says it is highly unlikely that companies would invest in onshore infrastructure. They will export the oil and gas directly. We won’t see it unless it washes up on our beaches.

If that happens, we pay for the cleanup. The Rena cost taxpayers $46.9 million, and that was tiny compared to a major oil rig blowout. The Deepwater Horizon disaster has cost Americans $80 billion and rising.

Cleaning up Saturday’s oily people was easy, but the serious business of cleaning up our beaches will cost a lot more than a bar of Lush soap.


A huge thank you to Lush (Dunedin) for their support  

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