The very day after the government made a very public backtrack on mining Schedule 4 land it’s been revealed that Australian company AWE is to prospect for oil close to the Marlborough Sounds following its disappointment in the Tui oilfield, off Taranaki.
The focus is now likely to be on minerals outside of the conservation estate, especially oil, lignite and iron sands.
From the Marlborough Express
Australian company AWE is about to drill a well close to the Marlborough Sounds, targeting a prospect that could hold up to 100 million barrels of oil, after drilling three duds in Taranaki.
Environmental group Greenpeace says the plan to drill close to d’Urville Island was “quite alarming” after the worst oil spill in United States history at a BP well in the Gulf of Mexico.
AWE is a 42.5 per cent partner in the highly profitable Tui field off the Taranaki coast, which produced about 4.8 million barrels of oil in the June year.
The Tuatara-1 well is about 10 nautical miles (18 kilometres) west of d’Urville Island and about 45km northeast of Nelson. The well will take up to a month to drill, starting within the week…read the full article here
Brazilian oil giant, Petrobras International Braspetro B.V was recently given a 5 year permit to drill for oil on 12,333 square kilometres off the North Island’s East Cape. Water depths range from shallow to 3000m at its northern reaches. BP’s leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico is in water 1500m deep.
There’s believed to be $100 Billion worth of resource in the Southland lignite field. Trials carried out for Solid Energy to reduce the moisture content of lignite have proved successful, yielding a briquette product that is on a par with Ohai coal.
Solid Energy welcomed the result and an announcement was made by its joint venture partner GTL Energy (GTLE) on 12 July 2010 that the company had successfully commissioned its first commercial-scale lignite upgrading plant near South Heart, North Dakota in the United States. The plant may take 100,000 tonnes of lignite per annum from Solid Energy’s New Vale Opencast Mine, near Mataura.
The trial also “boded well” for Solid Energy’s proposed pilot briquetting plant in Southland.
Also in the news today, Dairy company Fonterra have announced that they are to use coal to power a new milk processing plant:
The company will not put a figure on it, but it plans to use coal to fire a 30-megawatt boiler at a planned factory near Darfield, 45 kilometres west of Christchurch.
The boiler will also be able to run on wood, but Fonterra documents state that coal is the most “practicable” fuel.
Fonterra, the country’s biggest company, says the environmental effects of a coal-fired plant are “negligible” or, in the case of sulphur dioxide emissions, minor.
But environmental group Greenpeace, whose activists blocked coal deliveries to Fonterra’s South Canterbury factory in May, says the move shows Fonterra is more interested in expanding production than looking after the environment…
The rest of the world is working toward sustainable green energy and New Zealand is still trying to exploit hydrocarbons, something that doesn’t sit too well with the clean, green 100% Pure image it tries to project.
See also our Green Credentials, Or Greenwash? page