Oil company on the hunt again in the Bay

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 05:00 04/04/2014

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Tag Oil has returned to look for oil at a Hawke's Bay site it left two years ago because of landowner opposition.

The company has lodged pre-applications with Hawke's Bay Regional Council to drill for oil at the Boar Hill site in Wilder Rd, near Porangahau.

The consents, if granted, would replace earlier consents held by TAG and its then partner in the project, Apache, between 2011 and their expiry in May 2012.

The partnership pulled out in May 2012 after landowner Leyton King stepped away from signing an agreement that would have permitted drilling to go ahead.

TAG chief operating officer Drew Cadenhead said the company wanted to deepen the existing well, which went to a depth of 500 metres.

He said King was "more than amenable to have us there now".

"When Apache first came in, a lot of people on the East Coast in general were freaked out by this big American company coming in . . . I think that gave everyone the wrong impression of what was going to happen."

Since Apache had pulled out, TAG had held meetings with Wilder Rd residents and they appeared to be in favour of deepening the well, he said.

He was expecting opposition to the move, as occurred in 2012, and "we're more than happy to let them have their say and listen to them".

"We've tried to address the concerns, but we tend to get shouted down . . . They're more interested in talking about getting off fossil fuel, and climate change and these sorts of things. That's a separate issue to what we're doing out at Wilder Rd."

Cadenhead said results from TAG's Ngapaeruru-1 site near Dannevirke, which was drilled in April and May last year, showed Boar Hill held promise. "We are reasonably optimistic about the outcome for Boar Hill."

He hoped drilling at the site would start within the next six months.

The four applications, lodged last month, are to drill a bore at the site, take water for drilling, discharge stormwater to land, and discharge contaminants to air.

The council said it was too early to say whether any application would be notified.

Central Hawke's Bay resident and former regional councillor Tim Gilbertson said there would "definitely be opposition" to the drilling.

"If we take the latest IPCC report seriously, and we should, we should be putting a stop to new exploration. It's a complete contradiction," he said.

"It makes no sense at all to continue searching for oil."

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- The Dominion Post

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