Press release: No bond or public liability insurance required for exploratory oil drilling

Climate Justice Taranaki is extremely disappointed that the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has granted OMV Taranaki Limited the green light to drill another ten exploratory wells in the Maui field offshore from Taranaki.

Maui A platform from RW Oct18 Geoff Reid DSC06952SDzdf
Maui A platform, photo by Geoff Reid in Oct 2018

Disturbingly, there is no requirement on OMV to provide a bond or obtain public liability insurance in the consent. The recent Court of Appeal judgement on the Trans-Tasman Resources Limited (TTR) seabed mining application clearly laid out the need to consider the requirement for public liability insurance and bond. The latter would ‘address costs of remediation for uninsurable harms… for example due to deliberate non-compliance with conditions or supervening insolvency’. Surely the EPA should be listening and following the advice,” said Catherine Cheung, spokesperson of Climate Justice Taranaki.

This is unbelievable considering that we are still watching the FPSO Umuroa floating vessel saga unfold. With Tamarind Taranaki Limited in liquidation, BW Offshore is considering leaving the Umuroa at the Tui field offshore, unmanned and potentially uninsured, while the government sorts out how to decommission the site.  It’s a catastrophe in the making, if a wild winter storm hits the aging vessel with its estimated 40,000 barrels of oil onboard. Who is going to pay for the costs for the oil spill emergency and the damage on fisheries and customary rights, marine ecosystem health and amenity?” asked Cheung.

We can’t bury our heads in the sand and pretend that the bits of good stuff like nature jobs, renewable energies and wellbeing budget, are enough to turn our climate and social crises around. The bad stuff like fossil fuel exploration and mining must also end decisively, just like how Covid-19 lock-down brought to the halt climate wrecking travels and emissions.

We need to redefine our values system and priorities to ensure a just recovery from Covid and enable a truly sustainable, fair and kind society now and into the future,” concluded Cheung.

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Media coverage:

Oil tanker off Taranaki poses spill risk that could cost taxpayers (RNZ, 18 May 20)

OMV receives consent to explore for more oil off Taranaki (Stuff Business, 18 May 20)