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Local Bodies: Shell and the Great South Basin

Written By: - Date published: 12:31 pm, January 8th, 2014 - 170 comments
Categories: Economy, energy, jobs, Mining, peak oil, sustainability - Tags: , ,

shell and great southern basinbsprout at Local Bodies has kindly allowed us to reprint any posts we find interesting. Here is a timely post on oil drilling in the deep south.

The Southland Times devoted the whole of the front page to celebrate Shell’s decision to do some exploratory drilling in the Great South Basin. My response was the only one that expressed concern. Setting aside the issue of continuing to recover fossil fuel when the reality of climate change is becoming ever more visible, what are the potential risks and benefits of Shell’s activities? Will it really create an economic nirvana in the south or are there sinister possibilities that have been ignored?

The best scenario that will come from Shell’s exploratory drilling will be that they discover a sizable gas field similar to the one in Taranaki. New Zealand has bent over backwards to welcome them and has already provided existing scientific surveys of the area for free. However the royalties we will get from any oil and gas is only 5% of the value of what is sold, almost 40% less than the OECD average.
While the oil and gas comes from within our economic zone we will have to pay full commercial rates to have any of it ourselves. If the industry is as successful as Taranaki, around 800 new jobs will be created. There is potential for millions in revenue for our Government and the jobs will go a little way to address the 3500 that have already been cut from the state sector and 40,000 lost from manufacturing. If there are no accidents the drilling will provide some steady income but nothing compared to what we earn from other sectors. Taranaki gas accounts for .5% of our GDP. We will obviously not benefit from any oil and gas discoveries like Norway has.
The worst case scenario would be a Gulf of Mexico accident, which was also an exploratory drill (they tend to be the most risky). Shell will be drilling in 1300 metres of water which is around 1200 metres deeper than Taranaki, and the risks grow as the depth of water increases. Using Anadarko’s own worst case scenarios (which were worse than anything predicted by Greenpeace) any major spill will take well over a month to fully react to. We do not have the equipment or capacity to manage a major spill in New Zealand immediately, a capping stack would take over a month to arrive and a relief rig could take up to 100 days.
Maritime New Zealand has the majority of the responsibility in dealing with any spill and while the small Rena spill cost us around $50 million, we are looking at billions with any major oil rig disaster. Shell are predicting that they will strike gas, but this is just an educated guess and oil is still possible. While the odds of a major accident may be very low for many, even a minor accident could have serious environmental and economic consequences if we are not able to respond quickly.
While there is a lot of trust in Shell as a responsible company and their PR was slick and reassuring we don’t have to look far to have evidence that would give cause for greater caution and their recent record is hardly pure.
While the Government is throwing all their efforts into welcoming oil companies to help themselves to our resources (involving risks that shouldn’t be ignored) we do have other resources that have potential. Southland has extremely pure silica that is easily recoverable and we could be smelting it ourselves and producing our own solar panels for the growing market in alternative energy.

170 comments on “Local Bodies: Shell and the Great South Basin”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    I notice that Farragoblog and Whaleoil when discussing the drilling off the west coat of the Waikato were running the lines fed to them from Jason Eade in the PMs office ( #hey jason) about the economic effects from merely drilling. They said it was in the ‘billions’

    “So if I recall $2.2 billion is being spent in NZ on exploration. Do we want to turn that down .?

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2013/10/how_likely_is_an_oil_spill.html

    This was of course a complete lie, as the exploratory drilling uses in imported drlling rig with its own crew. These can cost in the millions per day but it all goes off shore. They would be lucky to get $10k a week for supplies sent offshore by helicopter.

    Of course #Hey Jason has his willing dupes

    • TightyRighty 1.2

      you don’t get the #heyclint joke do you? you don’t see national ministers asking an adviser in the middle of a press conference what policy is. they know it or they aren’t allowed to front. and it’s a font thing.

      are you just running the interference supplied to you from the greens?

      • ghostwhowalksnz 1.2.1

        Well they are ‘green’ arent they.
        But why doesnt Jason does his own posts on whaloil, any pseudonym would do !

        But be paid for by the taxpayer to write and research stories for blogging? Thats why its #heyjason

  2. Ad 2

    Tough day for Otago with the 100+ jobs lost at Macraes goldmines in central announced today.

    The oil boom may or may not happen to Otago or Southland, but both regions need greater diversity than milk and tourism, with smaller industries such as education, wine, and real estate services in support.

    Both Otago and Southland leaders would be hard pressed not to look for economic hope, even in oilfield servicing. I don’t blame them if they do.

    • Pasupial 2.1

      Ad

      I commented on the Shell game in today’s ODT over on open mike (comment 8). These are indeed tough times in the South – but I can’t see how; the destruction of our fisheries, and collapse of tourism, that would follow a major spill would make things any better.

      If there was clearly defined liability backed by escrow funds from the drilling company, plus necessary emergency equipment within NZ waters at the time of exploratory drilling, then the risk might be almost justifiable. As it is; this is like playing Russian Roulette for bar-money, while big guys in suits run side bets with gold ingots.

  3. What will probably happen here if we experience a spill: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fImVSbvS1Co

  4. freedom 4

    A Representation of Natural Forces Facing Drilling Rigs in the Great South Basin

    Part One of One

    Make a [matchstick] model of a drilling rig, approximately one and one half matchsticks high
    Place model on an inverted plastic lid as wide as the model is high
    Fill the kitchen sink with water
    Place the lid and model on the water’s surface
    Placing their feet in the water, sit a two year old at the sink’s edge.

    Let the inevitable occur

  5. Macro 5

    The incompetence and the unbelievable greed and avarice overriding all vestige of care and responsibility to NZ of this so called “Government” can only be compared to the governance of Pike River.. When the shit hits the fan – as it inevitably will – we know who to point the finger at.. But of course they will avow any responsibility, and walk away unrepentant.
    BASTARDS

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      +1

      We need to be able to charge the MPs when the inevitable loss to NZ happens.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    The only way I’d support drilling for oil in NZ is:

    1.) We had a referendum on it that showed that the majority of people supported it
    2.) That the output of the drilling belonged to the NZ government with whoever (state or private with a preference for state) did the drilling paid enough to cover costs
    3.) That the necessary containment capabilities were available and capable of responding in 24 hours
    4.) That the resources would actually be used in NZ and not sold overseas

    • weka 6.1

      5.) that local communities had a say in the risk assessments and value of the natural world most likely to be affected by a spill.

      6.) any resources discovered were used to transition NZ (rapidly) off fossil fuels, with a certain % going to AGW mitigation.

      • Macro 6.1.1

        As we are currently heading toward 4 degrees by the end of this century,
        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v505/n7481/full/nature12829.html
        and the known reserves are already sufficient to fry us, I see no sense at all in drilling for more..

        • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1

          I do. It would just mean that the oil/gas wouldn’t be used as a fuel but to make plastics and other useful materials.

          • weka 6.1.1.1.1

            Draco,

            “I do. It would just mean that the oil/gas wouldn’t be used as a fuel but to make plastics and other useful materials.”

            Still hugely problematic in terms of pollution.

          • Bill 6.1.1.1.2

            Putting aside the massive ‘solid’ pollution aspects of plastics etc – how much CO2 etc is released by the very process of drilling? How much is produced in processes of plastic/fertiliser/medicine etc manufacture? How the hell did we ever survive pre-1945? ;-) Why aren’t we throwing everything we have at finding alternatives to petroleum based manufacture of medicines or fertilisers etc (whether that be a change in how we do stuff – such as agriculture – or discovering and developing alternative sources for meds or what not).

            Why are so many wankers so attracted to the sexy sci-fi wankery of climate engineering instead of mundane, real and proven solutions?

            • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1.2.1

              Why aren’t we throwing everything we have at finding alternatives to petroleum based manufacture of medicines or fertilisers etc

              1.) Because petro-chemicals are so bloody easy to manipulate compared to others
              2.) Because, despite their declining availability, they’re still more available than what we’d get on a harvest basis. That is, of course, going to change at some point.
              3.) A few people get to make billions in profit from it.

              • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                3) a.

                And those billions provide plenty of funds to be spent on lobbying governments to ensure that these profits continue as long as possible.

                • Colonial Viper

                  And also useful for buying corporate media and news conglomerates…

                  • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                    …yep….so that everyone believes TINA [There Is NOOOO Alternative] ….and therefore the oil business profiteers can carry on their merry way making huge profits with the support of people cheering them – the supporters who, in actual fact, are going to be utterly disadvantaged by believing and supporting such things …..sigh

        • Naki Man 6.1.1.2

          Climate comedians, what a load of scaremongering crap their model is. The earths temperature has not risen for 17 years. Tell that global warming crap to the yanks who are dying in the snow and see what they say. What about the ship of fools that got stuck in the sea ice that wasn’t supposed to be there. Warmist retards

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.2.1

            Nine warmest years globally have occurred since 1998 mate. Arctic vortex which has been hitting USA and Canada just the beginning of highly disturbed weather patterns.

            Go away.

            • Naki Man 6.1.1.2.1.1

              I hear co2 levels have gone up but the earth temp has not risen for 17 years and the earth has been cooling for the last eight years. I guess it depends what your trying to prove and who is paying for the results.

              • Colonial Viper

                NASA says it mate, NASA says it. FU.

              • fender

                Read this and the link , Wacky Naki.

              • Paul

                The Koch Brothers pay for the results you read.

              • Pete

                Well something as cold and detached as the insurance industry has built climate change into its models. They wouldn’t be doing that if they weren’t convinced an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events caused by climate change wasn’t a reality.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I hear co2 levels have gone up but the earth temp has not risen for 17 years and the earth has been cooling for the last eight years.

                That’s because you have selected listening. Plenty of people have pointed out what’s actually happening and you’ve been ignoring it. I suspect this is because it doesn’t fit your delusional POV.

            • TightyRighty 6.1.1.2.1.2

              9 warmest years globally? based on what? “since records began”? began where? how accurate were they.

              A number of climate change proponents are right…. that number is zero

              • Crunchtime

                Based on observations by NASA and corroborated by any number of other meteorological organisations. Since records began, yes. I’m guessing that they would be more accurate than you.

                Get over your delusion and appreciate that what the human race does has myriad consequences.

                • TightyRighty

                  i’m not deluded. I’m sceptical. science is based on scepticism of “settled” results and “consensus”.

                  climates change, it’s no big deal as it’s largely impossible for humans to impact. but you just call everyone who doesn’t agree with you delusional Canute.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Keep using delusion and deception to back the establishment and the status quo economy mate. We’re happy to move on without you.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Your not skeptical, you’re in denial of reality which is delusional.

                    BTW, accurate recording of temperature started sometime in the 19th century.

                  • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                    largely impossible for humans to impact.

                    False.

                    Quantum Physics leads to the inexorable conclusion that your opinion is drivel.

                  • Kiwiiano

                    Tighty, I’m curious as to where you get this quaint notion that “it’s impossible for humans to impact”? The earth is pretty big and we are tiny by comparison but there are a helluva lot of us and our profligate ways are measurably affecting the planet.

                    For example, the fossil carbon (coal, oil, gas) we release into the atmosphere annually is 300 times more than all the volcanoes (the normal source of ‘new’ carbon) combined. This is measurably changing the atmosphere and oceans and measurably affecting the way the sun’s heat leaks back into space. None of those are models, or theories, or guesses, they are all measured facts.

                    Or is it just hard for you to believe we are changing the planet? Which is not the same thing.

                  • Paul

                    Unbelievable.
                    Flat earthers are sceptical about the world too.

          • Paul 6.1.1.2.2

            I see a member of the flat earth society has arrived.

          • Will@Welly 6.1.1.2.3

            Naki Man – Don’t be a plonker. Tonkin and Taylor came out today and told the Christchurch City Council that they can expect to see a sealevel rise of upto 2 metres by 2100. Global warming Naki Man. Aussie have just had their warmest year ever. America is suffering extreme coldness as the Artic ice melts, and the cooling pattern moves south, in what will be a short-term pattern, before such cooling disappears altogether.
            You’ve obviously got a case of severe heatstroke. Too much time in the sun.

          • Kiwiiano 6.1.1.2.4

            Jeez, Naki, what a load of outdated claptrap!! The “17 years” nonsense was derived from careful selection of the starting date, plus incomplete data because the regions on Earth where the biggest increases are happening weren’t included. It was also dodgy figures for the atmosphere which anyone with an IQ above room temperature knows is barely 10% of the total. The other 90% is showing steady increases. Sheeesh!!

            What I want to hear from Our Glorious Leaders up at Fort Fumble is which financial wizard decided to go ahead and drill when 75% of KNOWN fossil fuel reserves have to stay underground if we are to avoid climate calamity. The money would be better spent developing the huge energy resources of the Foveaux Strait tidal flows, and a bloody sight safer too.

            • Paul 6.1.1.2.4.1

              He knows he’s talking rubbish. He’s stirring.
              He just comes on this site to make outrageous statements or fatuous insults, then he leaves.
              That’s his style.

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                He knows he’s talking rubbish? I doubt it: it’s far more likely that he lacks the cognitive ability to tell the difference. It’s well known that right wingers as a group have below-average IQ, and while obviously that won’t hold true in all cases, I challenge you to find a comment by this individual that would indicate otherwise.

        • Pasupial 6.1.1.3

          Macro

          I agree that evidence indicates; “the known reserves are already sufficient to fry us”, but there is a grim kind of sense in drilling for more.

          Last September there was a public talk at the Dunedin Library hosted by (now) Councillor Aaron Hawkins featuring Gareth Hughes and two Otago University lecturers as speakers. Hughes was most illuminating on the perils of deep sea drilling and the need to leave a good percentage of fossil fuels in the ground to prevent total climate catastrophe. However it was a point raised by one of the lecturers that I want to draw attention to here (if anyone else who was there can recall his name; please comment).

          If a proportion of fossil fuels (let’s go with Kiwiano’s [at 6.1.1.2.4] figure of 75%) have to remain unextracted, then that means there is a corresponding proportion (25%) that is available for exploitation. How will this 25% be allocated by whatever authority gains the mandate to do so? Most likely it will be proportionate to the reserves controlled by the interested oil companies.

          So lets say a company such as Shell (or Anadarko, or Petrobras, or BP) currently controls 10% of world oil reserves, but can increase that to 15% through exploration before the divvying up occurs (maybe within a decade as weather patterns become more extreme to the extent that even lackwits like Naki Man can no longer deny them). That represents an extra 1.25% of total oil reserves that may be proportionately allocated to them (increasing their share from 2.5% to 3.75% of world total reserves). Importantly, they may have no intention of ever actually extracting the hydrocarbons at the site explored, but instead choose to use that extraction allocation at a more economic location.

          It is the exploration phase that is most perilous – for example the Deepwater Horizon disaster occurred during just such deepwater exploratory drilling as is proposed off our southern coast. But the primary return to NZ would be through (very low) royalties, and to the region from providing onshore provisions and recreation to the extraction crew. Even the New Zealand Petroleum, Exploration and Production Association chief executive states that “it takes approximately 10 years to fully develop a producing well” (in Southland Times article linked to above).

          So it does make sense for the Shell led consortium to exploratorily drill for more oil after all. What doesn’t make sense, is for us as a country to let them; undertake this riskiest of operations without adequate safety precautions, in a harsh environment that is unlikely to be economic to develop into a producing facility, to enable a foreign consortium to grab a bigger chunk of the world’s dwindling exploitable hydrocarbons – which will in all likelihood be extracted elsewhere.

          • Macro 6.1.1.3.1

            Yes I totally agree.
            The future (if there is to be any) lies in extracting and consuming with our sights set firmly on transitioning to a fully fledged carbon neutral economy. Oil and gas are the least polluting in terms of carbon of our fossil fuels, so we need to be moving rapidly now towards keeping the coal in the ground. So finding further “accessible” reserves does make some sense, as you outline. However, as you also correctly point out, the south sea basin is hardly “accessible”, nor have we any technology available to deal with any spill, should and when one occurs, apart from a pair of rubber gloves and sponges!
            This is where my comment above comes from. We know the difficulties of extreme depth (>1500ft) oil exploration and the risks – 1 in 19 chance of a spillage. We know we need to transition away from carbon, and we have but 500 gigatonnes of CO2 left to play with, if we are to stay within 450 ppm CO2. (and the prognosis is now that that figure is unlikely to keep us below the 2 degrees warming considered to be catastrophic.

          • Pasupial 6.1.1.3.2

            I was talking to Gareth Hughes today about that library talk, and the name I was trying to recall (whose ideas I’m presenting in 6.1.1.3) is; Dr Bob Lloyd. From his Otago University profile:

            “Associate Professor Bob Lloyd is from Australia, he came to New Zealand in 2002 after having worked for the Australian Coo-operative Research Centre for Renewable Energy (ACRE), based at Murdoch University in Perth. He has also worked on renewable energy systems in China and the Pacific Islands and taught at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. His current research interests at Otago University, where he is the Director of Energy Studies and Associate Professor in the Physics Department, lie in energy conservation in residential housing and energy management including world energy resources and peak oil. His PhD from Flinders University in South Australia was completed in the field of experimental atomic physics.”

            • Paupial 6.1.1.3.2.1

              The name I was looking for was not Dr Bob Lloyd after all (who was the other speaker), I should have put; Colin Campbell-Hunt ( Head of the Department of Accountancy an Finance at the University of Otago). Although my post at 6.1.1.3 is based upon my recollection of his presentation some months ago, I have unintentionally myself fabricated a few features regarding the proportional distribution of hydrocarbon resources that he never actually said.

              Some facts which I recall that he did go over both then, and repeated today (at the New Zealand Oil Free Future Conference 2014) are:

              There are 3000 Gigatonnes of Carbon in total current reserves.
              Current corporate reserves stand at 760 GT.
              We can release at most 1000 GT of the total if we are to have any chance of staying under 2 degrees celsius of global average warming.

              I think my points regarding; the desire of oil companies to increase their proportion of total hydrocarbons in their reserves in preparation for a divvying-up, and; the risk of exploration not necessarily leading to extraction in that location, may yet have validity. However I am a bit embarrassed that; not only did I misrepresent some one whose views I respect, but got their name wrong into the bargain.

        • weka 6.1.1.4

          As we are currently heading toward 4 degrees by the end of this century,
          http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v505/n7481/full/nature12829.html
          and the known reserves are already sufficient to fry us, I see no sense at all in drilling for more..

          I agree Macro. Do you have a plan for getting NZ to stop using FFs now? If not, it makes sense to find ways to transition off.

          • Bill 6.1.1.4.1

            Something like 50% of CO2 emissions come from our use of internal combustion engines. Exempt the fuel for disability vehicles, public transport vehicles and freight/delivery vehicles while slapping a $10 per liter tax on all other petrol sales. (That would have an instant effect, no?) And legislate at the highest possible emission standards.

            Target the revenue raised to build comprehensive public transport systems (electric buses/trams and trains?) Make a concerted effort to shift as much freight as possible onto rail. It’s possible to legislate for a tax to be applied to different categories of freight/delivery vehicles after a given time, thereby allowing time for companies to change the way they deliver stuff over longer distances.

            Maybe offer incentives for short distance delivery fleets to be replaced by electric or whatever?

            Run an audit on jobs and preserve only those that are necessary (bye bye legions of middle managers and human resources types and McDonalds and KFC and christ knows what else) while rolling out UBI and re-educating ourselves on what is worthy, and what is successful etc.

            And let the brown outs roll if we demand too much from our electricity supply by all switching on the kettle, over or hot water cylinder at the same time.

            Did I mention grounding all domestic and international passenger flights? Well, I have now. And there are 101 or 1001 other measures – absolutely necessary and probably really fcking unpopular.

            Time to treat ourselves like little kids looking at a visit to the dentist and drag ourselves kicking and screaming or however…but get ourselves to where we need to be and fck all the excuses.

            • geoff 6.1.1.4.1.1

              Bill, do you know what fraction of CO2 released is the result of farming animals?

              • Bill

                Agricultural emissions and emissions from land clearances are, as far as I’m aware, too difficult to calculate with any degree of precision. Yes, they are major – but then, a degree of it is natural and unavoidable. That forest clearances should cease, is a no brainer. That we really need to change the way we raise animals and grow crops is also a no brainer.

                But the ‘50%’ relates to emissions from energy use only… and that’s measurable and avoidable. Then again, energy use figures don’t generally take air travel or sea going freight into account because – no surprise here – no country wants to ‘own’ those ‘international’ and therefore invisible emissions.

              • Macro

                From the Ministry for the Environment
                http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/climate/greenhouse-gas-inventory-2013-snapshot/

                In 2011, New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions were 72.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2-e), which means total emissions are now 13.2 Mt CO2-e (22.1 per cent) higher than the 1990 level of 59.6 Mt CO2-e.
                In 2011, the net amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere (net removals) due to afforestation, reforestation and deforestation under the Kyoto Protocol was 16.8 Mt CO2-e.
                Agriculture was the largest contributor to New Zealand’s emissions in 2011 (47.2 per cent) closely followed by the energy sector (42.6 per cent).

            • weka 6.1.1.4.2.1

              Macro, I don’t believe for one minute that we can keep our current lifestyle via renewables and do anything useful to mitigate the effects of AGW. We need to powerdown and renewables are a very important part of that, but I’ve never seen a credible analysis of replacing our current infrastructure with renewables and maintaining our current standards of living and doing anything useful about AGW or the rest of the environment. We are using far more ecological footprint than the planet can sustain, and renewables are a small part of that.

              A case in point, the biggest chunk of NZ’s footprint is related to food esp transport of food. Converting all the ships and trucks and vans to electric or whatever is crazy compared to changing to local economies (eat food grown close to where you live), because the conversion process uses fossil fuels.

              Another case in point, I heard recently that Germany’s transition to renewables, being lauded as a great success, actually increased FF use because all the solar panel components etc were being made in China using FF industry and shipping. I haven’t been able to check that out yet, but as a parable it makes complete sense. We are still very bad at measuring these things in ways that make sense in the real world.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Converting all the ships and trucks and vans to electric or whatever is crazy compared to changing to local economies (eat food grown close to where you live), because the conversion process uses fossil fuels.

                What we in NZ can do is both. Convert trains, trucks and vans to electric while also buying local. Cars are gone. Ships will use sail.

                Another case in point, I heard recently that Germany’s transition to renewables, being lauded as a great success, actually increased FF use because all the solar panel components etc were being made in China using FF industry and shipping. I haven’t been able to check that out yet, but as a parable it makes complete sense.

                Considering Germany’s manufacturing base I’d say that that was complete actually. Still, Germany does still use a lot of fossil fueled generation. The flip side of that though is that the next set of solar panels use less fossil fueled generation and then less again. Eventually, they will have no fossil fueled generation. This is what is meant when people say to use the present fossil fueled generation to convert to renewables.

              • Macro

                The importation of carbon is always an issue, the same for NZ exporting food overseas, although the carbon content of NZ produce in the UK is not as carbon intensive say as a ready made salad, (picked in Spain flown to uk, then flown to kenya to be placed in plastic containers and returned to UK for distribution) this sort of nonsense really has to stop. Actually most private vehicle miles in NZ are short distances so these could well be covered by a fully electric vehicle. Electric buses on urban routes has always been an option and wellington is an example. The removal of tram tracks was very sort sighted. One definition of infinity is how many people can you fit in a Melbourne tram? That many plus 1 :).
                The story of the solar panels being more carbon intensive than oil fired electricity is not supported by fact. True there is an initial carbon content in manufacture to begin with, and a small amount in transportation, but bulk shipping (as with NZ’s meat,and dairy produce to UK) is very carbon light. This spread over 25+ years makes solar a very efficient and carbon light alternative – note also we have the 500 Giga tonnes to play with and it in this sort of production that it is most benefitialy used.
                This scaremongering against solar stems directly from the fossil fuel industry and is nothing more than that – bullshit and poppycock at which the Heartland Institute are masters.

                • weka

                  ok, so can you give me an accessible analysis of the emissions involved in converting the NZ fleet to electric? An analysis that includes everything involved (batteries not just panels, other parts, manufacture, and all the way from mineral mining to disposal of existing fleet, as well as ongoing maintenance/pollution issues)?

                  “This scaremongering against solar stems directly from the fossil fuel industry and is nothing more than that – bullshit and poppycock at which the Heartland Institute are masters.”

                  Except that’s not where I am coming from. I want us to make use of solar now while we still can. I just don’t believe that we can replace oil society with renewable society and carry on as normal, and as I said, I’ve yet to see any credible analysis that says we can.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    I think we want to avoid the scenario where we take every single petrol and diesel powered car and replace it with a new electric car. That’s madness. (Consider the carbon cost of smelting all that new steel and aluminium…)

                    In Dunedin we had fewer cars and lots of public transport trams for most of the 20th C. Also get the trucks off the road and get the freight on the trains (diesel or electric, though electric is better of course both would save a lot of emissions).

                    I just don’t believe that we can replace oil society with renewable society and carry on as normal, and as I said, I’ve yet to see any credible analysis that says we can.

                    This. Mainly because our idea of “normal” has become twisted and perverse over the decades – focussed on happiness via material things and throw away consumerism. Having a society which is healthier, more creative, more emotionally and culturally satisfying today however, would be quite do-able.

              • Macro

                There are perfectly acceptable electric vehicles available at the moment almost within the cost parameters for similar style new petrol equivalents – the range is still restricted but for local running would more than meet the image test:
                http://www.electriccarsnz.co.nz/pages/products/cars/DLEVM1002.htm
                Then there is the factor of the true cost of CO2 emissions which is masked by massive subsidies to the FF industry and externalising the cost by indebting future generations. Putting a true cost on Fossil Fuels would help to incentivise the public to adopt more sustainable technology. Taxes collected by governments could be used to offset the costs sustained by those less able to pay, and in research to improve sustainable alternatives, improve public transport systems, etc.
                Moving freight to rail for long distance cartage, relieves pressure on our over burdened roading system, and cuts costs of cartage in terms of CO2 emissions. It used to be illegal for trucks to cart from Auckland to Wellington!
                These are just some things that a government that takes global warming seriously need to consider and make policies towards implementation.
                But underlying all of that is the need for education and the change of attitude and that can only be done at grass roots level on a personal basis. Hui, conferences, booklets,and chances for all to participate in informed discussion are vital. It will be impossible for any change to stick if it from the top down.
                And all of this needs to be tied in to a new direction in economic thinking and activity.
                But that’s an even more wide a topic.. :)

                • weka

                  Was that a reply to me Macro? Because I’m pretty sure it doesn’t answer any of the points I raised.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Have you ever worked out how much GHG emissions are created in the production of a tonne of vehicle grade steel or aluminium?

                  That needs to be worked into the equation.

                  You’ll find that the GHG payback period for a new hybrid or electric vehicle EXPLODES after you figure that in. In other words, you might as well keep using your old 1995 Honda Civic, because the GHGs of manufacture and delivery have all already occurred and are sunk costs.

                  • Macro

                    I think you are way off beam here CV
                    the research does NOT back up your assertions:
                    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360319909014980

                    Multiple alternative vehicle and fuel options are being proposed to alleviate the threats of climate change, urban air pollution, and oil dependence caused by the transportation sector. We report here on the results from an extensive computer model developed over the last decade to simulate and compare the societal benefits of deploying various alternative transportation options including hybrid electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids fueled by gasoline, diesel fuel, natural gas, and ethanol, and all-electric vehicles powered by either batteries or fuel cells. These simulations compare the societal benefits over a 100-year time horizon of each vehicle/fuel combination in terms of reduced local air pollution, greenhouse gas pollution, and oil consumption compared to gasoline cars.

                    The model demonstrates that partially electrified vehicles such as hybrids and plug-in hybrids will appreciably cut greenhouse gas pollution and oil consumption, particularly if biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol can displace a large amount of gasoline. But if we are to achieve an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases below 1990 levels, eliminate most oil imports and most urban air pollution, then society must transition to all-electric vehicles powered by some combination of fuel cells and batteries. We cannot achieve our transportation sector goals if most vehicles still rely on internal combustion engines for some of their motive power. We conclude that society must rely on a portfolio of alternative vehicles to achieve our societal objectives, beginning with hybrids, plug-in hybrids, biofuels, and transitioning to all-electric fuel cell and battery electric vehicles over time.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      So to put it another way…how many tonnes of CO2 are released in the refining and forming of one tonne of vehicle ready virgin mild steel ready to go into a new electric or hybrid car?

                      Put yet another way…if we push off the road 500K diesel and petrol cars, and replace them with 500K new electric/hybrid cars each requiring up to a tonne of steel or aluminium…how much GHGs will have been released in the refining and forming of those alloys.

                      I’m betting lots and lots.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Production of a tonne of steel produces almost two tonnes of CO2 according to this.

                      http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2013/steel-without-greenhouse-gas-emissions-0508.html

                      Apparently a L of petrol produces about 2.3kg of CO2…

                    • Macro

                      As you identified in your comment about the continued use of an old car – its the through out life use that needs to be taken into consideration.. Lots of kilometers equates to many tonnes of CO2..
                      Remember its not just the burning of petrol that needs to be taken into account but the production and transportation of the fuel as well.

                    • Bill

                      macro – why the fuck would we want to replace the current car fleet? Get it off the road! The reality is that the party’s over. No matter which way we want to look at it, the market economy is sucking on its death rattle. Business as usual and we get whacked by unprecedented weather events from a collapsing climate scenario. Want to avoid the collapse of the climate? Then abandon the market economy.

                      Either way, it’s fucked. (And so is your pension and any long term investments anywhere.)

                      On the up side, no-one is going to have a need to drive cars on 20km or 50km round trips to a job or whatever on a daily basis – the jobs only exist (most of them) to generate profit ;that’s a basis of the market economy – the economy that’s done its dash.

                    • Macro

                      Bill I agree, we need to develop more efficient, alternative means of public transport, return our streets to pedestrians and cyclists. Even for my aging limbs, the electric cycle allows me to get into town and back up a street rivaling Baldwin in gradient. Mobility scooters are numerous in my neighbourhood…
                      But just as business as usual is not an option going cold turkey is not an option either, there needs to be a transition phase and managing our way through that as best we can.

                    • Bill

                      Sometimes….actually, mostly….I look upon calls for ‘transition’ as code for doing nothing. Not saying you’re saying that. Just saying.

                  • KJT

                    Most of the emissions over a cars life span are associated with the manufacture.

                    Which means replacing your SS commodore, immediately, with a Prius may not necessarily reduce overall emissions.

                    Paradigm shift here though, CV.

                    You are thinking of electric cars that match the capabilities of our current petrol ones. That is not necessary.
                    The waste inherent, even now, in a two ton mass of steel and plastic just so you can occasionally do 100 km/hr for 400k’s on the open road when most cars do less than 50k a day at average speeds under 50km/hr.
                    A major part of the truck fleet is also engaged in short trips around town carrying goods from the long haul depot.

                    Think of golf carts, and the UK’s electric milk trucks, rather than our current petrol cars.

                    When you reduce the performance requirements, electric cars for in town use can be made from flax and vegetable resin composites using cycle technology.

                    Even better, we can ban high performance cars from within town limits. Making them safer for pedestrians and cycles.

                    One UK site, I have lost the link, suggests renting electric cars at city boundaries, to those who ahve arrived in their long distance transport, petrol car, train, bus or ship, just as many cities now rent out cycles.

                    Then there is carrying freight by rail or coastal ship.
                    One small coastal ship takes over 4000 trucks a week off the roads with a whole order of magnitude less emissions.

      • Wayne 6.1.2

        It seems to be a theme of The Standard to oppose virtually all oil drilling, but especially deep offshore drilling. Now I know that this is the Green Party position, but where does Labour sit on this issue.

        I guess Labour does not oppose Taranaki exploration and production, but they seemed ambivalent about the seismic survey off the East Coast last year. Different MP’s have also said different things about Anadarko’s new well.

        Given that oil and gas exploration seems to be a big political issue for 2014, Labour will need to make its position clear. I know what the activists on this site think, but that is not necessarily the position that the Labour party will take. Have, for instance, they (the relevant spokespeople) said anything at all about this latest proposal for Southland.

        And how will it play out in a hypothetical Labour/Green coalition or do we just find out in the event that such a coalition happens – one of those unknowns in politics that cannot be determined in advance?

        Since on the Left the only viable package seems to be Labour/Green on around a 3 to 1 split, this is a serious political point for the upcoming campaign. There are at least some things that such a govt would do, that the public need to know in advance of the election. It can’t be all done by reading the runes.

        Much easier on the Right, since the Nats are such a dominant part of the package. The potential coalition parties can only ever get a few minor things (like 5 Charter schools).

        • karol 6.1.2.1

          Wayne, are ou trying out a strategy? Is this what is called “Wedge politics”?

          • Wayne 6.1.2.1.1

            Karol,

            Nothing so cute, just a reasonable question on an important political issue. At least at some point in the not too distant future, voters will need to know the answer, so they can make informed decisions. After all a significant number of voters will actually decide their votes on the collectivity of the package of policy being being offered.

            Others (such as you and me) have already made up our minds.

            But even for us we like to know what the positions of the major parties are. It will influence how we live our lives, since we know that a fair proportion of our lives will have a government in charge that we did not vote for. And during that period we may still want to influence what they do, or at least understand why they do it.

            • Pasupial 6.1.2.1.1.1

              Wayne

              “… we know that a fair proportion of our lives will have a government in charge that we did not vote for. And during that period we may still want to influence what they do…”

              So how do you square that with our present government ramming an unprecedented number of laws through under urgency to avoid the select committee process, and disregarding the recent Grey Power initiated asset sales petition?

              • Wayne

                Well on the referenda, Nat had a clear manifesto policy during the election campaign and we know the result of the election. So therefore Nationals opponents were not going to influence them on that.

                Influence relates to things where there are not specific manifesto commitments, like for instance water quality standards. I would expect to be able to influence a govt that I had not voted for on an issue like that.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  We really, really need to get away from the idea that parliament governs. That’s not democracy but dictatorship. It’s the people that govern and the MPs are our servants.

            • karol 6.1.2.1.1.2

              My understanding is that Labour isn’t as opposed to all mining as the Greens, but the MPs aim to weigh up the pros and cons. They are against mining on protected/conservation estate/scedule 4 land. Ther are also strongly for both having safeguards against environmental damages, as well as wanting to have public concsultation on mining.

              This is indicated by the various press releases form key Labour MPs on the environment: Labour environment spokespeople & Cunliffe.

              • Wayne

                Hi Karol,

                Thanks for the references. They are helpful, but I suspect on this issue Labour will need to be more specific. I appreciate that policy is a question of timing, and it will be a little time before they announce their policy on the issue.

                But of course media might well ask in the next few days what Labour thinks about the Shell proposal.

                I suppose Moana could fudge her answer a bit, which would then result in the media asking the Economic Development spokesman what he thinks (Shane Jones). This is all perfectly predictable, so Labour will need to sort it sooner rather than later.

              • tinfoilhat

                Let’s face it Karol, Labour will be a lot weaker than the Greens on issues like this so if environmental protection is a high priority for a voter then they should look to vote green long before they vote Labour.

              • KJT

                The Greens are not opposed to all mining, either.

          • tinfoilhat 6.1.2.1.2

            Even if it is wedge politics it’s a good question.

            I know where the party I intend to vote for (Green) sits.

  7. Philj 7

    Xox
    Naki man. In the pay….

  8. tricledrown 8

    The mining side of Nachunals policy is falling apart everyday.
    Then even if they find something which is less than a 50% chance it will be a further 20 years before the technology is invented and trialled to recover hydrocarbons.
    Tunnels undersea pipelines will have be built .
    The submarine technology isn’t available Now and may most likekly to expensive.

  9. Ad 9

    Is it correct that Shell are not seeking oil at all, but are instead going for natural gas? this would negate any spill concerns.

    • Kiwiiano 9.1

      A well-head blow-out would still be pretty nasty. There would be liquid hydrocarbons and the methane would be highly explosive at the surface. Not to mention its green-house gas qualities, 25% better at trapping heat than CO2.

    • Gas leaks to appear to have less obvious environmental impacts http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2012/may/18/decc-total-gas-leak , but I am not sure how well justified Shell’s claim that gas is the likely find or if it is part of their PR to limit opposition. It is also interesting that they made this announcement a couple of days before the Oil Free Seas Conference in Dunedin this weekend. I think it was a strategic move on their part and makes it very important that the conference is well supported. Registrations are still open: http://oilfreeotago.com/oil-free-future-summit-2014-2/

      • Engineer_Mike 9.2.1

        Gas is what was found in the area in the Hunt Petroleum drilling in the late 1970s and early 1980s. So Shell’s position has a sound basis. You can get the relevant Well report from NZ Petroleum and Mineral website (www.nzpam.govt.nz) under Technical data. Search for well Kawau-1.

        • Dave kennedy 9.2.1.1

          Thanks Mike, Shell themselves give only a 30% chance of finding a substantial gas field and little chance of finding oil. Other than the Guardian article that I linked to I haven’t found much information on the real dangers of a gas leak. The greenhouse concerns are obvious but the effects on the sea and marine life seem minimal, I struggle to believe that.

          • lprent 9.2.1.1.1

            The greenhouse concerns are obvious but the effects on the sea and marine life seem minimal, I struggle to believe that.

            Oddly enough at the depths they’re doing it at, there isn’t a particular problem. There will be a minimal die off in the water column and down current. Much of that will be from the smaller amounts of more complex hydro-carbons than methane.

            However the vast bulk of the gas components will largely be methane. At the pressures and temperatures where the wellhead is, the methane will either freeze out as clathrates or get absorbed into the water. In either case unless they freeze at a depth likely to get affected by ocean warmups or are in current water, they aren’t likely to take much part in the atmospheric processes before they return to sediments.

            Paradoxically the greenhouse problems of gas wellheads only really happen if they are in shallower water (and therefore don’t freeze out) or they get burnt above water.

            Oil is much more problematic in water because of its non-polar chemistry.

    • Naki Man 9.3

      AD
      Yes you are correct, Shell are hoping to find gas not oil.
      But we can’t let the facts get in the way of the scaremongering. What do you think the chances are of there being a blow out and then gas that is lighter than air moving against the tidal current and washing up on the beaches. How about Zero.

  10. Engineer_Mike 10

    Just a few facts to add to the debate that I think are important.

    1. The Great South Basin was drilled safely in the late 1970s and again in the early 1980s by a Hunt Petroleum and NZ Government consortium. The knowledge gained from this and the improvements in drilling technology since means that this is nowhere near as risky as is being portrayed here and elsewhere. It does have some risks but they are perfectly manageable as long as there are knowledgeable people on the rigs and they have the authority to act. Our regulations do not ensure that the latter is so.

    2. The Macondo Deepwater Horizon blow-out was not the result of a lack of knowledge or “pushing the envelope”. From the Summary Report to the US President (at http://housemajority.org/coms/anw/pdfs/27/deep_water_summary_to_president.pdf ) we have the following clear statements right up front;

    – The Deepwater Horizon disaster was foreseeable and preventable
    – The immediate causes of the Macondo well blowout can be traced to a series of identifiable mistakes made by BP, Halliburton, and Transocean
    – The decisions made by these companies reveal systemic failures in risk management raising questions about the safety culture of the industry

    3. The royalty regime is not 5%. it’s the greater of 5% AVR (that is 5% of the revenue stream) OR 20% APR (that is 20% of the profit). Most fields in NZ, and all the really profitable ones pay the 20% APR.

    This bit is not a fact, just an opinion.

    I believe that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with exploring for and developing oil and gas. There can be something (ethically) wrong with how we do it and what we do with the stuff when we produce it. If we want to change the way these things are used, say burnt and releasing atmospheric carbon, then we should change the way we use it, say by using less of it and by using it in high value reuseable forms such as plastics and chemicals.

    Stopping exploration and development in NZ will ultimately cripple our economy and make us more reliant than ever on imports. Our main foreign exchnge earners, i.e. primary product exports of dairy, beef and timber, and tourism are completely reliant on fossil fuels to produce and access global markets and bring in tourists. Raise the price of these fuels substantially (by making them scarce or limited our access) and our economy will contract faster than we have seen in years.

    We may be 60-70% renewable for electricity but we are less than 1% renewable for our transport infrastructure and we should be addressing that before we cut-off our domestic supplies.

    • Bill 10.1

      Global warming driving climate changes will ultimately cripple our economy and civilisation and make us more reliant than ever on one another. But we can always bury our heads in the (tar?) sands and exclaim that Our main foreign exchnge earners, i.e. primary product exports of dairy, beef and timber, and tourism are completely reliant on fossil fuels to produce and access global markets and bring in tourists. Raise the price of these fuels substantially (by making them scarce or limited our access) and our economy will contract faster than we have seen in years.

      • Engineer_Mike 10.1.1

        I’m not saying more oil, I’m saying that there are consequences for these decisions. If we’re prepared for those then let’s go for it.

        • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1

          NB Oil availability is going to vastly decline over the next 20 or so years. We’re not even getting ready for that.

        • Bill 10.1.1.2

          But we simply aren’t prepared for the consequences. Spill or no spill is bloody irrelevant. Global warming is a problem of CO2 accumulating in the atmosphere. We simply need to stop adding to the cumulative amount that is there, because, we are not and (I’d argue) cannot be prepared for the consequences insofar as many of them are unknowable while others are way beyond our coping capabilities.

          The safety or otherwise of drilling is a dirty little red herring. The only question that needs to be asked and answered is whether we should be drilling at all. So many layers of irony in the fact that so many people base their argument for drilling on economic necessity when the consequences of using what is drilled is going to absolutely total that self same economy they are so anxious to nurture and that that economy drives the supposed need to drill and burn and keep on keeping on.

          • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.2.1

            +1

          • Psycho Milt 10.1.1.2.2

            Your argument would be a lot more persuasive if we weren’t importing shitloads of oil every year.

            • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.2.2.1

              I think that’s what Bill acknowledges as “irony.”

            • Bill 10.1.1.2.2.2

              And why are we importing shit loads of oil every year? Oh – that’s right. To fuel an economic model that isn’t sustainable under any scenario, but that promotes the demand to burn the fossil fuels that it needs to function; fossil fuels whose use causes the global warming that causes the climate change that will absolutely and without a shadow of doubt bring an end to any possibility for having a functional market economy in existence.

              • Oil imports will continue regardless of your rhetoric – they’re a given for the foreseeable future. More to the point, they’re a given with direct relevance to the question of whether it’s worthwhile drilling for oil within NZ.

                • weka

                  Poor argument PM

                  AGW and its impacts will continue regardless of your rhetoric – they’re a given for all of the future. More to the point, they’re a given with direct relevance to the question of whether it’s worthwhile drilling for oil within NZ.

                  • They’re really not. We’re using and will continue to use a large amount of oil; whether we got it by drilling for it or by unloading it from an oil tanker is irrelevant.

                • KJT

                  Conversely, we could spend the same amount of money and resources on developing renewable energy, and save a shitload of foreign exchange spent on exploration, mining and importing hydrocarbons.

                  E.g. Building tidal turbines in Cook Strait will have much more long term economic benefit, than finding oil.

      • Kiwiiano 10.1.2

        Our economy is going to contract pretty fast if we don’t move toward carbon neutrality. And we have to allow for the CO2 and methane outputs of our livestock, not just the tankers and trains needed to move the milk & timber etc around the country, the diesel, fertilisers, etc needed for farming or the planes bringing the tourists in. If it comes to that, our cities and all their activities are also utterly dependent on fossil fuel, but we HAVE to make the change.

        That’s what is so frustrating about the climate ‘debate’. It really is a HUGE deal, we are staring down the muzzle of planetary extinction, something humanity has never faced before. We are fundamentally ill-equipped to deal with anything that doesn’t have sabre teeth.

        • Bill 10.1.2.1

          Our economy is going to contract if we do move towards carbon neutrality – even if it’s only with regards our energy systems. Meanwhile, the economy (and more besides) is going to crash in a heap of screaming shit if we don’t.

          So we can crash out of market economics in a somewhat controlled yet chaotic fashion or just watch the economy and everything built on the back of it get trashed in a period of unpredictable chaos, brought on by extreme and unpredictable weathers, ‘thrown at us’ by collapsing climate systems.

          • Colonial Viper 10.1.2.1.1

            Yep.

            An orderly strategic withdrawal, or a tragic disastrous rout. This is what it;s coming down to.

    • You make some good points, Mike. I have some real concerns about the efforts oil companies will make regarding their care and safety of operation if our Government carries the majority of the risk. We will have a repeat of the Pike River scenario if extracting the gas is marginally profitable. There is the potential that if margins are tight risks will be taken to cut costs when ultimate liability can be avoided. I can imagine that the knowledge and capacity to monitor deep sea drilling practices in New Zealand would be even more limited than in coal mining. The first time we will be aware that short cuts have been taken will be when the first accident occurs. We can’t allow self monitoring and the ‘she’ll be right’ approach to exist in deep sea drilling.

      • Engineer_Mike 10.2.1

        Completely agree. We can’t afford to rely on “self regulation” and must make sure that there’s somebody on the rigs with real authority, who know’s what’s going on and who is prepared to shut things down when/if there’s a risk. I believe that was the role of the Petroleum Inspectorate which was disbanded in 1992.

        • KJT 10.2.1.1

          Our Government and regulators are “lost at sea” on the relatively simple task of shipping safety and pollution prevention.

          Experience has given me no confidence at all in their ability to regulate offshore exploration and drilling.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.3

      Stopping exploration and development in NZ will ultimately cripple our economy and make us more reliant than ever on imports.

      And what happens when we run out of these resources?

      Our main foreign exchnge earners, i.e. primary product exports of dairy, beef and timber, and tourism are completely reliant on fossil fuels to produce and access global markets and bring in tourists.

      Except for the tourism and timber they’re also the reason why our streams are massively polluted. So polluted in fact we should be looking at decreasing the amount of farms and the intensity with which they’re farmed at.

      Raise the price of these fuels substantially (by making them scarce or limited our access) and our economy will contract faster than we have seen in years.

      That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

      We may be 60-70% renewable for electricity but we are less than 1% renewable for our transport infrastructure and we should be addressing that before we cut-off our domestic supplies.

      We don’t use our domestic supplies – the whole lot are sold off overseas. Which inevitably means that we have no say in how it’s used. In fact, as it’s being brought up by a privateer we don’t have that say either.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.3.1

        And as for our economy?

        What would it mean for New Zealand? Just before the holidays, the Ministry for Primary Industries published a report on Four Degrees of Global Warming: Effects on the New Zealand Primary Sector (downloadable here). The short version: live is going to get a lot harder for farmers, with more droughts and more floods (yes, they do go together).

        Yeah, global warming isn’t that great for our primary industries either.

  11. George D 11

    Choice one: more oil.

    Choice two: a liveable planet.

  12. George D 12

    You don’t get to choose both. It’s nice to think that you could, but reality does not work that way.

  13. fisiani 13

    If the Left truly want to forgo all the vast wealth from potential oil and gas deposits around NZ as seems obvious from the comments above the I for one am glad that this post exists. To deny any possibility of jobs and investment and growth and progress is a hallmark of the Greens who seem to have an undue number of posters here. Please keep obsessing about the GCSB , Global Warming , Snowden etc.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 13.1

      Forgo the vast wealth? Is that what you can see from planet Fisiani, because I can see several people who would rather keep more of it onshore rather than forgo so much of it as we do now. Royalties 40% below global average huh.

      The greenhouse effect is a grave concern, true. Do you have the cognitive ability to notice risk, though?

      • fisiani 13.1.1

        20% APR is NOT 40% below global average. Do you struggle with arithmetic?

        • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.1

          Let’s go with one 40% above the global average. What would that be?

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 13.1.1.2

          Made that remark before I read Eng. Mike’s comment above, but yes, you got me there. On the underlying point that there are plenty of commenters here who are pro-exploration and extraction, and they have better ideas of how to use it, not so much.

          Do you struggle with science?

    • Colonial Viper 13.2

      the vast wealth from potential oil and gas deposits around NZ

      Where exactly is the bulk of this “vast wealth” going? Don’t you know that the oil and gas is itself the “vast wealth” not a few electronic transaction credits you might get for pawning the energy off to foreign corporates like Shell and Statoil?

    • KJT 13.3

      Another twit that thinks that infinite growth is possible in a finite world.

      • Bill 13.3.1

        Stupidity, it seems, knows no bounds though…recognises no limits. Very tardisy it is in that respect…never ending space in a wee box ;-)

    • KJT 13.4

      Like the “vast wealth” that mining bought to the Coromandel, eh.

      After it finished the town of Thames was bankrupt and most of the town was unemployed.

      The local depression continued for decades, until they gained a car factory as part of regional development.

  14. fisiani 14

    The vast bulk of any gas find must surely go to the brave investers who took the risk to spend 200 million dollars with a 70% chance of finding diddly squat. By the way gas does not cause an oil spill.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 14.1

      Fisiani the petrochemical engineer and investment expert is on the case. Everyone relax.

    • KJT 14.2

      That is what they thought when they were flaring Maui B.

      But there was oil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Bill 14.2.1

        I’m unsure if gas and oil are ever discovered in complete isolation. A field may be predominantly one or the other, but exclusively one or the other? Since it’s the same process that lies behind the formation of both oil and gas, I can’t quite see how. But hey, I’m no geologist.

        • weka 14.2.1.1

          Been wondering that myself. Dave mentioned in his post that oil could be found as well as gas, but I’ve not seen much on what that means.

          So far, found this, which is a bit lite:

          oil versus gas

          Anadarko and Shell say they are more likely to find gas than oil off our shores. They are trying to brand gas as the “clean” fossil fuel.

          Gas still causes global warming. Burning gas releases about 75% the greenhouse gas emissions of crude oil, causing the same damage to the climate in 4 years that oil does in 3.

          A gas blowout can be a major disaster. In 2012 in the North Sea, an Elgin platform gas leak spewed 200,000 cubic meters of gas per day. It cost $3 billion and took six months to drill relief wells to stop the leak. If this happened here, the oil companies admit it would take months for a relief well to reach NZ.

          Gas condensate can still wash up on beaches and is toxic to wildlife and humans.

          Accidental methane emissions from gas wells can be huge and are not factored in to Anadarko and Shell’s definition of a “clean” fossil fuel. Unburned gas from these emissions is mostly methane, which is 21 times more potent at warming the atmosphere than carbon dioxide – nothing “clean” about that.

          http://oilfreeotago.com/tag/deep-sea-oil-drilling/

  15. Ad 15

    So looking back on this post and comments after a day, the Southland Daily Times no doubt over-amps things, agreed, but:
    – civic leaders and media applauding jobs for the south were doing their job
    – Deepwater Horizon comparisons are invalid because all previous surveying and drilling had shown any strike will be for gas not oil; and
    – even if there’s a gas leakage it’s at too great a depth for surface impact anyway

    I can see the writer has a problem with oil. OK. But that’s hardly a new point for a post.

    The post writer ends with a suggestion of mining silica sand. So the writer agrees with some kinds of mining. Any other kinds?

    • weka 15.1

      “- civic leaders and media applauding jobs for the south were doing their job”

      Only if you think AGW is not real.

      • Bill 15.1.1

        You could say that part of the job description (implied though never stated) is to ‘play the game’ and ignore AGW.

      • Ad 15.1.2

        Many of them can walk and chew gum at the same time.

        • weka 15.1.2.1

          Pity they can’t see that you don’t have to damage the environment in order for people to make a living though.

          • Ad 15.1.2.1.1

            Anyone remember the discussions we had here about the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter last year? Over 1,000 jobs were to be lost, at massive social damage to the South Island’s third largest centre.

            The dominant view of debaters was that on balance it was inevitable, fair enough, it’s all part of some mythical regressive transition to something else, so they should all just harden up – or get Google to form a server farm next to a dam. Or mining sand.

            Others thought the only likely employment or career replacements were the dairy and tourism markets. But dairy was bad for rivers, and tourism relied on petroleum. Both true.

            Now here comes the promise of fresh jobs through oil exploration. Quite a few, and quite well paid. Gas extraction – long proven safe for over a century in New Zealand – is here almost universally decried.

            If all we can say to those damaged by unemployment in the south island is gleefully say NO, then we are no friend of New Zealand’s workers. We are merely catastrophist moralisers.

            • weka 15.1.2.1.1.1

              What’s with the ‘gleeful’? :-(

              Ad, there is much there I don’t disagree with, but this I do – I’m not the one making false dichotomy between jobs and the environments. We’re well past that point. All I said was that it wasn’t the media and leaders’ jobs to be cheerleading jobs at the expense of the environment. If they can’t see past that and produce a more nuanced narrative then they’re shouldn’t be in the positions they are.

              Here’s a thought. Why not create jobs in the medium and long term that aren’t vulnerable to the whims of the national or global economy?

            • KJT 15.1.2.1.1.2

              It is something I find difficult myself.

              Most of the people I work with are hoping for the oil industry to “take off”.

              The oil industry pays much more than most of us are currently earning.
              They need people with our skills, but they have to pay highly to attract us to the short terms, often only weeks, they offer.

              But, We do really have to get away from “boom and bust” extractive industries and develop long term socially and environmentally sustainable jobs and industries.

          • Colonial Viper 15.1.2.1.2

            Currently, there are very few ways of “making a living” which don’t entail damage to the environment. Which makes complete sense if the broader economic arrangements necessary to “making a living” play a key part in environmental destruction.

            • Ad 15.1.2.1.2.1

              See, I wanted to go there but it was just too depressing.

              I have Penfolds 189 to drink, cousins and a wife to support, political parties to encourage, teams to run, that kind of thing. People need work to live.

              You know Invercargill pretty well I suspect. They need a whole lot of help down there. I ain’t saying what’s on offer is pretty, but it’s pretty much what’s on offer for the Southland worker.

              • Colonial Viper

                Yep. That and Bluff. And dairy. In the end I support the NATs keeping NZ industry open, but the pricks should have done the same for Hillside. (Though we know why they didn’t.)

                CV never afraid to “go there” it seems LOL

    • Pasupial 15.2

      Ad

      1/ “civic leaders and media applauding jobs for the south were doing their job”. Not all civic leaders were applauding – Dunedin Councillors MacTavish & Hawkins were particulary adamant in their opposition (and will be both be present at this weekend’s Oil Free Future Summit if you are in dunedin and want to find out why). Mayor Cull was a bit cautious, while his deputy Staynes was enthusiastic.

      “Of the other city councillors spoken to yesterday, Crs Neville Peat, David Benson-Pope and Richard Thomson expressed either concern or outright opposition to the drilling plans, while Crs Doug Hall, Hilary Calvert, Mike Lord and Lee Vandervis welcomed Shell’s plans.” http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/287660/oil-gas-base-host-race

      A good rule of thumb in NZ politics is when you’re on the same side as Hilary Calvert, you should be very concerned.

      2/ “Deepwater Horizon comparisons are invalid because all previous surveying and drilling had shown any strike will be for gas not oil”

      Oil condensate is inevitable with gas deposits – the Shell consortium mean that they predict only a 1% chance that economically exploitable quantities of oil will be found. Hell, we get the stuff washing up on the beaches of Stewert Island and Moeraki even without drilling. The reason it’s called exploratory drilling is that they don’t know for sure. If what safety precautions they take are geared towards gas leaks, then the risk of an oil leak being inadequately contained is likely higher than the standard 5% estimate (1 in 20).

      3/ “even if there’s a gas leakage it’s at too great a depth for surface impact anyway”. One of the problem with methane clathrates is that they’ll thaw and outgas as sea temperatures increase; leading to a positive feedback loop of warming. CH4 is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.

      So much fail, So little time.

      • Ad 15.2.1

        Let us know the employment ideas that emerge from your oil free summit will you?

        • Colonial Viper 15.2.1.1

          Families who are being personally hit by the McCraes gold mine redundancies in North Otago are going to want to see that too.

        • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 15.2.1.2

          …and here:

          https://www.greens.org.nz/greenjobs/more

          Ad,
          Please realise that there were jobs prior to the oil industry and there will be jobs after it. It is a disingenuous framing set up by our government that you are buying into by believing that no oil industry = no jobs.

          • Colonial Viper 15.2.1.2.1

            Please realise that there were jobs prior to the oil industry and there will be jobs after it.

            many of those jobs (19th and early 20th century) were powered by coal. It will be very interesting to see if the Greens can pull of their claim of 100K jobs and how long it will take. If that is 100K net new jobs, it will require quite a bit of spending.

            • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 15.2.1.2.1.1

              “It will require quite a bit of spending”

              How much does drilling cost, CV?
              What are the future prospects for the oil industry, CV?
              What are the future prospects for new forms of energy, CV?

              Nothing like putting in a bit of optimism for ensuring positive change occurs, is there CV?

              • Colonial Viper

                Not my job to be optimistic; it’s my job to be realistic. The banks of those mining families losing their jobs don’t take optimism as mortgage payments, for instance.

                100K new Green jobs is $4B to $5B extra spend into the green economy a year. It’s quite do-able of course.

                And, the timing is actually quite favourable. Any exploratory drilling done in 2014 is not going to result in any significant numbers of jobs for at least 5-10 years, and that is on the fastest time frame.

                So the Greens have that window of opportunity to show to the nation that they can generate the number of green jobs they claim that they can.

                • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                  Good, that is much better.

                  Green jobs are a realistic option and an optimistic option when compared to the prospects of the oil industry – therefore being realistic and optimistic go hand in hand over this one…

                • Pasupial

                  CV

                  If it is indeed: “Not my job to be optimistic; it’s my job to be realistic”, then who is paying your wages as a shill for their “reality”? I rather thought your job was Chiropractice; which to my mind is less realistic than the placebo effect (at least a nocebo won’t paralyse one the way an inept spinal manipulation can).

                  I do not see that jobs necessarily be concrete chunks of employment as presently conceived. If there is a given amount of work to be done in a society, it is not natural law that a portion of the citizens be employed in 40 hour work weeks (itself becoming less normal than last century) and the rest left to beg. A governmental agency could act as intermediary between employers and workers to allocate work hours amongst those qualified to perform that activity (akin to a KiwiPower for work). This could even tie in nicely with a UBI.

                  The problem is that our current hydrocarbon supported lifestyles are unsustainable. Internalising profit and externalising loss is a scam that has just about run it’s course; as there’s ever more cost, and ever less profit. We are just going to have to accept that many of our necessities will be luxuries for our descendents. A less affluent future can still be a more fulfilling future however. Inequality and social division create more misery than mere lack of stuff.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    LOL

                    The one comment I will make…chiropractic care is a natural method whose founding principles and techniques originated years before the economic dominance of oil. And as the modern medical system will have to fight an inevitable slide backwards over the next 50 years due to a loss of the fossil fuel energy required to maintain it’s highly complex and overhead heavy inputs and logistics, chiropractic care will do just fine.

                    TL:DR in the scenario of hydrocarbon depletion that you have outlined, chiropractic care will outlast medicine. Sorry about that :twisted:

                    • weka

                      “If it is indeed: “Not my job to be optimistic; it’s my job to be realistic”, then who is paying your wages as a shill for their “reality”? I rather thought your job was Chiropractice; which to my mind is less realistic than the placebo effect (at least a nocebo won’t paralyse one the way an inept spinal manipulation can).”

                      Jeeze Pasupial, that’s a low, personal and yet still largely ineffectual blow. Not to mention illogical. If you are going to point the iatrogenesis finger, at least don’t exclude all those medical folk who practice placebo-RCT-based medicine.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iatrogenesis#Incidence_and_importance

                      “TL:DR in the scenario of hydrocarbon depletion that you have outlined, chiropractic care will outlast medicine. Sorry about that ”

                      Classic.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      weka :)

                    • Pasupial

                      CV

                      This is probably too long for your limited attention span too, but may persuade others to avoid your particular brand of snake oil.

                      “Chiropractic was founded in 1895 by magnetic healer D.D. Palmer in Davenport, Iowa.” So technically, yes; “years before the economic dominance of oil”, but not before the economic dominance of coal. Back massage has been around for longer than that of course, but it’s only been called Chiropracty for 119 years.

                      “A critical evaluation found that collectively, spinal manipulation failed to show it is effective for any condition. The scientific consensus is that chiropractic may be on a par with other manual therapies for some musculoskeletal conditions such as lower back pain, but that there is no credible evidence or mechanism for effects on other conditions, and some evidence of severe adverse effects from cervical vertebral manipulation.”

                      “A 2012 systematic review concluded that no accurate assessment of risk-benefit exists for cervical manipulation. A 2010 systematic review stated that there is no good evidence to assume that neck manipulation is an effective treatment for any medical condition and suggested a precautionary principle in healthcare for chiropractic intervention even if a causality with vertebral artery dissection after neck manipulation were merely a remote possibility. The same review concluded that the risk of death from manipulations to the neck outweighs the benefits.”

                      “A 2009 review evaluating maintenance chiropractic care found that spinal manipulation is routinely associated with considerable harm and no compelling evidence exists to indicate that it adequately prevents symptoms or diseases, thus the risk-benefit is not evidently favorable.”

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiropracty#Risk-benefit

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Wikipedia – shit we must be on the big guns now. So 119 years on, and patients still insist on referring their spouses, friends, family, business associates and colleagues to their chiropractors? What is it about this ‘snake oil’ which works so well eh?

                      Regardless, the chiropractic profession has outlasted many decades of blacklisting, anti-competitive and illegal attacks from the AMA, and I rather suspect that it will also out last you.

            • weka 15.2.1.2.1.3

              Aren’t there going to be a whole lot of new public service jobs with the introduction of the UBI?

              • Colonial Viper

                The public service jobs scheme is an add on to the UBI which I think is crucial. But the bare UBI itself, according to Gareth Morgan, will simplify systems so much that many jobs in the IRD, WINZ etc can go…

            • Draco T Bastard 15.2.1.2.1.4

              How many thousands to build 500 5MW offshore wind turbines scattered around the country to replace Huntly?
              How many thousands needed to electrify the entire rail system?
              May need more than 500 wind turbines.

              Full roll-out of FttH (it uses less power than copper).
              How many to Electrify all bus routes and build the trolley buses to go with them?
              Will need to recycle all the useless cars (on average personal cars spend 96% of their time sitting there doing nothing).

              Thousands needed to plant 30m riparian strips on all permanent streams.

              Yeah, I’m not sure if 100,000 will be enough.

        • Bill 15.2.1.3

          What’s with the disconnect? AGW is real. The market economy is dead…two secs away from a head on collision with its limits.

          And jobs are, and only ever have been, a foundation stone of the market economy, which is two secs away from…

          We don’t need to find new jobs, we need to find new ways to measure ourselves and our lives that aren’t bound by the logics of a market economy that’s (in case you need reminding) two secs away from…

        • Jim Nald 15.2.1.4

          Is this (6:48pm) a different Ad from the usual Ad (eg 5:00pm)?

          • weka 15.2.1.4.1

            Either a different person, or using a different email address when commenting.

            That’s the second time that’s happened today (see BM in teh David Cameron thread).

  16. Colonial Viper 16

    So the Chinese built a huge iron ore facility in Australia. And it ran way over cost because the Australians made them do it with local Australian workers, not cheap imported labour from the homeland.

    Got to hand it to the Aussies, they have spines and they know how to force a good deal.

    http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/1/9/china/chinas-shock-and-ore-australian-way

    • Ad 16.1

      Foreign investors getting a tough deal, and still going ahead.
      My kind of deal. Pity it was Abbott not Rudd, but who cares.
      Good link.

    • Now that was a good news story. I was expecting the stuff about how shocked the Chinese company was at the pay and conditions it had to provide, but this bit really was icing on the cake:

      The company had to build a bridge at a cost of $US60 million to help the movements of crabs in a protected area. This probably wouldn’t surprise Australian miners, but for the Chinese who are used to much lower standard of environmental protection, it came as a rude awakening.

      Negotiation with indigenous people is also a tough challenge for a company that has no experience in dealing with native title issues. “We must negotiate and remove every sacred site within the mining area with the local indigenous tribes. That took us an entire year and we didn’t think about that at all during the initial planning stage,” Zhang told Chinese reporters.

      Here’s hoping there’s a great many similar rude awakenings ahead…

      • KJT 16.2.1

        Have to give the Chinese some credit for sticking with it and following the local rules.

        And also shows you do not have to give up all your worker and environmental protections to attract investment.

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