Thirty Protesters Board Skandi Atlantic in New Zealand

Credit: Greenpeace
Credit: Greenpeace

By The Maritime Executive 11-24-2019 04:07:47

On Sunday, 30 people, including a team of Greenpeace climbers, boarded the Skandi Atlantic, an offshore support vessel preparing to leave the Port of Timaru, New Zealand.

The Bahamas-flagged Skandi Atlantic was preparing to sail north to meet a drilling rig commissioned by OMV and currently stationed off the coast of Taranaki. OMV is about to begin drilling three wells there, followed by one in the Great South Basin off the Otago coast. 

Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, Amanda Larsson, said: “OMV’s oil rig is almost 50 nautical miles off the Taranaki Coast. Its remote location means it’s nearly impossible for ordinary New Zealanders to take peaceful action to confront it directly. “We’ve brought the resistance here to disrupt its chain of support. We won’t let this rig carry out its climate-destroying activities quietly, out of sight and mind.”

Representatives from a variety of environmental groups are also taking part in the occupation, including Extinction Rebellion, Oil Free Otago, and 350 Aotearoa.

The action follows protests last month outside OMV’s headquarters in Austria, where M?ori climate activist, Mike Smith (Ng?puhi, Ng?ti Kahu), announced a lawsuit to be filed at the International Criminal Court against OMV’s CEO, Rainer Seele. In the past few days, OMV has also faced protests in Dunedin, Wellington and New Plymouth.

Greenpeace claims that OMV is one of just 100 companies that have caused over 70 percent of the world’s climate emissions.

OMV in New Zealand

Earlier this month, OMV agreed to sell its 69 percent interest in the Maari Field, located in New Zealand’s offshore Taranaki Basin, to Jadestone Energy Inc., an independent oil and gas company focused on the Asia Pacific region.

The agreed purchase price is $50 million, and the effective date of the transaction is January 1, 2019. Average production of the divested assets in 2018 was around 5 kboe/d (net to OMV).

“The divestment of the Maari Field further optimizes our portfolio and will shift us in New Zealand to a gas-only producer. This underlines OMV’s strategy to produce significantly more natural gas than oil to reduce the carbon intensity of the product portfolio in the future,” said Johann Pleininger, OMV Board Member Upstream and Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board.

OMV will continue to operate the M?ui and Pohokura gas fields – which together produced 37 kboe/d year to date (net to OMV) and contain about a third of New Zealand’s gas reserves. OMV is investing a further $300 million on a range of projects to extend the lives of the M?ui and Pohokura gas fields over the next two years.