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Worth a crack Nigel?

Written By: - Date published: 8:46 am, April 15th, 2011 - 22 comments
Categories: disaster, Mining - Tags: ,

Even the supporters of Deep Sea Oil Drilling admit it is risky.

Like the two rats in the old advertisement discussing the odds of going for a cheezel set in a trap, Petrobras and the Herald editor discuss the advantages of Deep Sea Oil, in the columns of the Herald.

Echoing the rat called Nigel, the Herald says “If there is, as with virtually any activity, a risk, there is also the prospect of huge reward.”

The Brazilian company is keen to take a gamble with our environment: “Petrobras’ project head Marco Toledo speaking to the Herald, said his company was accustomed to high risk.”

Both the Herald and Petrobras conclude: ‘We should take the risk.’

Like Nigel the rat and his companion, they have decided it is worth a crack, to risk snatch this tempting morsel, but like Nigel the rat, they might find, that if this trap is tripped, the consequences will be horrific and there is no escape. Not for Nigel and not for us.

Worth a crack Nigel……. Nigel?


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The Greens have been running a very good line on this. They point out that the Yanks had tens of thousands people and has spent $39 billion on cleaning up the Deep Water Horizon spill so far. We have 400 people trained for an oil disaster and there would be no other deepsea rig nearby to drill a well like the one that eventually stopped the leak, after 800 million litres had been spilled. – Eddie

22 comments on “Worth a crack Nigel?”

  1. M 1

    Jenny, definitely not worth a crack – it’s insanity.

    I saw BBC in the wee smalls and there was an item on the BP AGM and a protest by the people affected by the great oil blanket. These peoples lives are totally trashed and it doesn’t look like anyone has received any compensation from BP despite their protestation that they’ve paid across 20 billion.


    I also saw a report on how three generations of oyster fishers who have had their careers and lives destroyed.

    Pretty good argument for not touching the stuff in our waters or do we want to be taking a seat on the disaster train with the Japanese and Americans?

  2. higherstandard 2

    Definitely worth continuing with the surveying to find out if there is substantial oil deposit there.

    • Tigger 2.1

      After that brilliant analysis hs I am utterly convinced by you – drill, baby, drill!

      • higherstandard 2.1.1

        It wasn’t analysis, it was an opinion.

        A useful analysis is impossible to make prior to a survey being undertaken to assess whether there are any deposits and if they exist there size and the cost/benefits/risks associated with their extraction.

        • todd

          Consultation and an emergency plan should be in place before any exploration. A retrospective response even if forthcoming is not acceptable. We already know the risks involved in deep sea oil drilling, they far outweigh the 5% oil and 1% gas returns NZ gets. In comparison to our fishing and tourism industries, which earn us far more, oil is an extremely dumb move. Even if a huge field is found, what New Zealand makes from this is minimal and will most likely not cover Nationals prior investment… An investment of our tax money while they cut social spend like there’s no tomorrow and are failing to meet carbon emission reductions. Not to mention these oil companies don’t pay taxes.

          • higherstandard

            They are doing 2d and 3d seismic surveys – there is no drilling.

            The risks involved cannot be properly assessed until we know where the oil is and how much is there – regardless the public majority will decide whether any oil removal will go ahead down the track, not Greepeace, not Pertrobas and not the present government.

            • Draco T Bastard

              They have an obligation to drill an exploratory well and they won’t drill that unless they expect to find oil.

              Petrobras’ work programme milestones include:
              • acquiring 3,000 kilometres of two-dimensional seismic data within 18 months
              • interpreting the 3,000 kilometres of two-dimensional seismic data within 24 months
              • an option to surrender after interpretation of two-dimensional seismic data
              • acquiring 800 square kilometres of three-dimensional seismic within 36 months
              • interpreting the 800 square kilometres of three-dimensional seismic data within 42
              • an option to surrender after interpretation of three-dimensional seismic data
              • drill one well within 60 months

            • todd

              The five year permit:
              1. 2d seismic data mapping
              2. 3d seismic data mapping
              3. Drill an exploratory well
              I don’t see implement safety measures or consult the public in that permit anywhere.
              So it is currently a decision by the Government and Petrobras. There was very little consultation with the public. Labour has not given any reference to not drilling in deep seas where the danger is increased so any reference to the public deciding through an election is rather naive.

              If Petrobras invests around 150 Million and the Government invest millions of tax dollars as well, what do you think their decision will be even with consideration to the safety and public opinion aspects? Ensuring any undertaking can be done safely and gaining the consent of the public especially those immediately affected in the event of an oil spill should be step one. Not in hindsight after investing our money in dangerous enterprises.

          • Brokenback

            Dear all , this is my business.
            I have worked in offshore oil exploration for 30 years .I currently work in a senior position on a deepwater exploration rig for the owners of the Deepwater Horizon .
            I have met & spoken with survivors of that disaster  , simple honest working men.

            Deepwater oil exploration, if you care to check the records , is subsatntially less risky than the Pike river for instance.

            The tragic circunstaces in the Gulf of mexico have more to do with the insidious nature of large corporates & the collusion of government agencies staffed at a political whim.

            The massive costs & risks involved in exploration preclude all but the best informed gamblers .

            To say there is no consultation over the Petrobras proposals for the Raukumara basin is naivity verging on idiocy.
            The current NZ petroleum exploration has been in place for at least 15 years with minimal variation.
            The successful tenderer for the Raukumara blocks is faced with expending ~$250 m with no guarantee of success or recuperating that investment.
            however if successful they will gain returns many times that invesmtent.High risk , high return.

            New Zealanders lost all control & advantage from their undiscovered Oil& gas resources when they stood by and let Bill Birch gift Petrocorp to Ron trotter & Fletcher Challenge for ~ 5% of its true current value.

            • Eddie

              good points.

              But “Deepwater oil exploration, if you care to check the records , is subsatntially less risky than the Pike river” isn’t the best comparison eh?
              It’s a bit like saying I’m a substantially better sprinter than a tetraplegic. Doesn’t mean I’m a good sprinter

  3. Bill 3

    Seems that everybody knows that no government is going to take serious measures to reduce oil use.

    But what about ‘everybody’? What about you?

    Do you happily jump aboard a domestic flight for work purposes?

    In the UK an employment case based on discrimination…discrimination laws are the same here in NZ…was won by a worker who was dismissed for refusing to use air transport to attend work related meetings/seminars. He successfully argued a climate collapse argument that saw the judge find that his genuine belief in climate collapse should be legally viewed as being the same as a religious belief. And that meant that the guy had been discriminated against.

    So there’s a course of action all you domestic flight hoppers could take that wouldn’t impact on you.

    But what if you’re a factory worker shuttling backwards and forwards in your car every day?

    Not so long ago, major companies ran buses to get their workers to and from work. If they could do it then, they can do it now. (Schools do it) But do you think such a demand is on any union’s horizon? Nah. Course not.

    And that’s the weakness in any anti-exploration stance. Governments know that the very people against deep sea drilling or whatever are doing sweet f.a. off their own backs to wean themselves from oil addiction. And they can contain a conflict that has only one front and that doesn’t put direct pressure on business.

    Business is by far and away the biggest user of oil products. And that includes their dependency upon workers using oil products to get to and from work. So force business to take the location of their workers into account when they are deciding where to locate. And force them to pick up the tab if they don’t.

    • Carol 3.1

      But do you think such a demand is on any union’s horizon? Nah. Course not.
      I’m not so sure about that.  I know Waitakere City Council used to have concessions for their workers who used public transport to get to and from work.  I don’t know what the situation is for the current Auckland Council, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the unions also have been pushing for such concessions.  I think some unis provide public transport concessions for staff and students, and I thought a big employer (like Telecom?) has just initiated a policy for its workers in Auckland, to encourage cycling, provide showers etc., but can’t find a link to the story I read.

    • And force them to pick up the tab if they don’t.”

      I get a ‘travel allowance’ because when I was hired twenty years ago my employer routinely paid it to anyone living more than 15km away. It hasn’t changed since I was hired and it started getting taxed sometime in the 90s. For the past eight years I’ve been taking the bus and the allowance works out to about $10 pw so it doesn’t cover the cost.

      Nevertheless, it does send the right ‘price signal’ to the employer. It also encourages employment of locals rather than communters [that was an accidental misspelling but I’m in Christchurch and it ‘spoke’ to me so I’m leaving it in – strangely appropriate] and so would encourage urban intensification which some people think is a good thing.

      Sadly, about a couple of years after I was hired my employer ceased offering the allowance to new employees (it was a ‘cost’).

      Thanks Bill for a constructive suggestion – I’d never thought of the travel allowance in that light before.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.3

      So force business to take the location of their workers into account when they are deciding where to locate. And force them to pick up the tab if they don’t.

      Actually, just force them to pick up the tab anyway. A simple law that says two things:

      1.) The business will pay the full costs of transporting the workers independent of their wages
      2.) The business will pay the worker half their hourly rate (or estimated hourly rate if on salary) or minimum wage (whichever is the greater) for the time that it takes the worker to get to and from work.

      And watch just how fast the business community will clamour for public transport and high rise apartments become vogue in the magazines.

  4. Afewknowthetruth 4

    1. The Herald has a well established record of failing to carry out investigative journalism and dodging real issues.  The Herald is business, and its business is moulding public opinion in favour of business as ususal.

    2. The entire industrial economy is predicated on the use of oil, and will collapse when global extraction decline reaches a critical point and serious shortages arise (probaby fom around 2015 onwards, perhaps before).

    3. All mainstream political parties’ policies are pro- status quo or slight tweaking of status quo, and are in denial of reality on all energy-related matters and all ecological matters. They pretend that we can somehow maintain industrial civilisation by treaking the system slightly.  Slight tweaks to the system will make almost no difference to the overall outcome and simply delay catastrophe by a few months or years.

    4. The general populace has been carefully trained to believe they are entitled to cheap fuel and that consumption of oil-based fuels is perfectly normal  -even though it is a gross aberration in the scheme of things. Nature sequestered all that carbon underground for a very good reason.

    5. The CO2 content of the atmosphere is rising faster than ever (now 391ppm and rising at over 2ppm per annum). The acknowledged ‘safe’ level is no more than 350ppm (though 300ppm  would be far better). Continued burning of fossil fuels will render most of the Earth uninhabitable within a few decades, due to positive feedbacks triggering abrupt climate change. That’s if acidification of the oceans doesn’t trigger ecological collapse first.

    6. The only solution to the mess humaniy has creatd is to shut down the entire global industrial economy  … and that certainly isn’t going to happen, since there are powerful vested interest groups working hard to prop it up for as long as possible, whatever the long term costs.

    6. Most people ignorant of the facts or couldn’t care less.


    • Lanthanide 4.1

      Nature sequestered all that carbon underground for a very good reason.

      Sorry, but “nature” doesn’t reason.
      And yes, truly the only way we’re going to keep up with business as usual (at least until global warming does us in) is going to be new disruptive energy technology such as fusion. While fusion remains a long shot, it’s still possible that it could become a leading producer of energy within 10-15 years time (see polywell fusion, focus fusion, and 2 or 3 others). No, I’m not a cornucopist nor believe that techno-fixes will definitely save the day, but there is a chance.

      • Afewknowthetruth 4.1.1

        You obviously don’t understand poetic use of language. The ‘reason’ nature sequestered all that carbon was to create conditions suitable for life as we know it. Okay, in practiice present life forms evolved to suit the conditions prevailing after the carbon had been sequestered. But it does amount ot the same thing. Fusion has been 10-15 years away since 1960. We don’t have another 10-15 years. Present economic arrangments won’t last another 5 years. Anyway. ‘everyone’ is running scared of anything nuclear at the moment.

  5. JJ 5

    Rats? I thought they were mice.

  6. ghostwhowalksnz 6

    Worth the risk ?

    We allready know the Pike River Coal walked away from their responsibilities when the risks  ‘ didnt all go their way’.

    Unlike BP, Petrobras has no onshore  presence  here  so  we can calculate the chances of them walking away from a major environmental hazard  as  99%.

  7. johnm 7

    Hi AFKTT
    What you say is how I understand it too, given all the highly credible people who have explained these facts to us. The subject is so painful (Involving the early deaths of so many of us) that our mind instantly rejects this information: for most to accept it is to despair. This information is ultmate grief! Our civilisation is finished?! No………….! I can’t accept that!

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      That certainly seems to be the reaction of a lot of people. Point out that there are physical limits that we need to live within and that we’re about to hit a wall of resource depletion and get just straight out denial as a reaction.
      Hell, Labour and NACT keep talking about competition in telecommunications (and elsewhere) completely oblivious that such competition must use more physical resources.

    • Carol 7.2

      I think a lot of the denial is based in more immediate issues than early death.  I think a lot of people don’t want to believe that the intensified consumerism of the last few decades will not continue indefinitely – a disbelief that there could be an end to the excess of little toys, unneccessary luxuries, intriguing distractions and shiny things, which they either own, or hope to own if they follow the NAct prescription.

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