Ministers praise oil ship refit project

00:00, Nov 29 2013

Nelson MP Nick Smith and Minister of Energy and Resources Simon Bridges were visiting Port Nelson today to congratulate those involved in the refit of floating oil storage ship the Raroa.

The former tanker, at 250 metres the longest vessel to visit the port, left on November 18 after a three-week refit, part of an $80 million upgrade project by Maari oilfield operator OMV New Zealand, a subsidiary of Austria's largest listed public company.

Dr Smith said more than 60,000 hours were put in during the ship's stay, and Nelson should be very proud of its marine industries.

"People who are opposed to New Zealand being involved in the oil and gas industry need to acknowledge that it will cost communities like Nelson jobs and income. The answer is not in rebuffing New Zealand's opportunities with the oil and gas industry and importing fuel from offshore, but in making sure the industry matches up to the world's best-practice environmental standards," he said.

Mr Bridges said New Zealand's abundance of energy and mineral resources provided unique opportunities for growth. The Government was receiving about $700 million a year from the oil sector.