25 Nov 2013

PM wrong on deep sea oil risks - Greens

12:19 pm on 25 November 2013

The Green Party says the prime minister has got it wrong on the risks attached to deep sea oil drilling.

Last month, John Key said that out of 50,000 wells drilled in the Gulf of Mexico, there had been a problem with only one of them.

But official US figures show that between 1964 and 2012 there were 259 spills of 50 barrels or more from various Gulf wells. They also show the deeper the wells went, the higher the chance of a spill.

The Green Party says Anadarko's exploratory well off Raglan is as deep as the deepest wells in the Gulf and it's not a risk most New Zealanders are willing to take.

An industry veteran also says the prime minister is being more than disingenous in downplaying the risks of oil exploration.

Dugald Roberts, who has three decades experience in American and Middle Eastern oil, said Mr Key's claim is nonsense.

He said about one in every 20 wells will have containment issues and even that's a conservative figure.

He also said Maritime New Zealand is nowhere near skilled enough to manage a cleanup.