No mountain drilling, Tag boss assures
The head of Tag Oil has dismissed protesters' claims that the company plans to drill under Mt Taranaki.
The noisy group of between 30 and 40 demonstrators rallied outside Tag Oil's St Aubyn St offices about 11am yesterday calling on the company to abandon its plans to drill near the boundary of the Egmont National Park.
The Canadian company won approval to explore for a potential new gas field, 350 metres from the park's boundary, on Rowan Rd, Mahoe in November.
Tag chief operating officer Drew Cadenhead attempted to speak to the group about what he says is misinformation contained in its brochure "Don't Frack With Our Mountain" but the group refused to listen.
The protesters even ignored pleas from within the group to let Mr Cadenhead speak.
Back inside, Mr Cadenhead told the Taranaki Daily News the inaccurate statements were frustrating.
"We are not drilling underneath the mountain, there is no oil and gas in volcanic rock for one thing," he said.
"No one will ever drill into the mountain, there is no oil and gas there. We are outside of the area and we will stay outside of the area."
Mr Cadenhead said the material would serve to inflame rather than inform an important debate.
"We think any debate should be based on empirical science-based information. I can't see any evidence of this in the Kapiti group's brochure and that is a disservice to those that may rely on this information."
Protest organiser Tanea Tangaroa, of Whanganui, said she wanted to give Tag a clear message.
"This is our way of making a stand, it's our way of saying to them - no more, we don't want you here, we want you to go," Ms Tangaroa said.
Despite Tag's assurances Ms Tangaroa believed the company would drill horizontally under the mountain. "It will go right underneath and that's not good. That's what they are all doing."
She said there were also grave concerns about the environmental impact the drilling would have.
"People out there need to be aware, they need to do the research, they need to look into it and you will find exactly what is going on."
Ms Tangaroa said protests against Tag's drilling programme would be ongoing. "Sooner or later we know we are going to have to go there and do the hard yards."
The protesters later marched through New Plymouth's streets waving placards which included slogans "No Fracking Way" and "Our Maunga is sacred" and chanting "Tag Oil frack-off".
Taranaki Daily News