Impact on land small: oil driller

Last updated 05:00 30/11/2013

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The oil company planning to drill near Mt Taranaki says the operation will have the smallest environmental footprint possible.

This week, Tag Oil's plans prompted members of Ngati Haua Whanui to form a protest march from Parihaka to Hawera.

But yesterday Tag Oil New Zealand country manager Randy Toone said the permit that was granted explicitly ruled out any drilling under the Egmont National Park.

Mr Toone said the area of interest to Tag within the permit was "almost directly below" a farmer's paddock where it plans to drill. The company had worked with the farmer to determine the best location for the drilling pad.

"Our aim is to have the least impact we possibly can on the land," Mr Toone said. "The further away we move from the drill rig, the more drilling we have to do to get to the target zone."

Moving the drilling rig five kilometres away would mean having to "drill down and across some 10 kilometres", which was not possible for any onshore drilling rig in the country.

He also said the company was happy to work with Ngati Haua to help the community better understand what was involved in the exploratory drilling.

Both the Taranaki Regional Council and the Stratford District Council had set down conditions for earthworks and protections of waterways.

"We'll stick to those," Mr Toone said. "As we have communicated to Ngati Haua, we're happy to sit down and discuss additional stream monitoring."

Tag was granted an exploration permit to drill near Opunake in December last year.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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