Oil and Gas Spin | The Jackal

11 Nov 2011

Oil and Gas Spin

Campbell Live ran a story last night concerning the oil and gas industry in Taranaki. During the show there was a number of industry types talking it up. This included Stuart Trundle from Ventura Taranaki who said:
“The direct economic view is 7700 jobs, $2.5 billion dollars.”
There was no mention of what area these figures referred to giving the viewer the impression that Trundle was talking about the benefits to Taranaki.

It’s relevant to mention that according to the Ministry Of Economic Development, the total returns to the Crown from royalties for the entire oil and gas estate  in New Zealand, is only $3 billion since extraction began.

The reporter continues:
"Last year the government received $432 million dollars from petroleum royalties... the safety record of Taranaki is good. No serious incidents have ever been recorded at the Maui platforms.”
It's a pity Lachlan Forsyth didn’t talk to Tangata Whenua to find out what they think about unchecked oil and gas developments in Taranaki.

His misleading statement would make people believe that the returns for 2010 of $432 million refers to Taranaki and not the entire country. The quote of $432 million is the total royalties from petroleum AND mineral extraction in New Zealand as well.

There's a sinister reason behind the subterfuge... overvaluation is used to gain more investment capital and to drive up share prices. Misrepresenting the figures is also being used to try and gain public support.

Rob Jager from Shell NZ was interviewed in front of the newer type of unmanned gas plant called Pohukura in Taranaki that produces 40% of the countries gas and is operated by one man in Auckland… hardly the windfall of jobs that New Zealand needs.

New Plymouth Mayor Harry Duynhoven said:
“Offshore... yes! The oil industry is very careful there have been the very occasional small spills um and I guess that’s the risk you take but the companies themselves have been very keen to obviously reduce the risks because it is highly expensive plus of course the reputational damage.”
This industry spin leaves me wondering whom the mayor is actually working for? The sad fact is that it's not highly expensive for the oil and gas industry to pollute in New Zealand, because National has ensured fines are kept low.

The maximum fine able to be imposed under the Maritime Transport Act is only $200,000. This is peanuts for the oil and gas industry and ensures they cut corners to save infrastructure costs.

No fines were imposed for two recent oil spills in Taranaki and those responsible have not been open about the exact quantities of oil released.

The other misleading aspect of the report was that it showed the well-developed New Plymouth area and then parts of undeveloped East coast implying that the returns from oil and gas caused the stark difference between these two areas. What a load of rubbish!