Anadarko Failed to Find Oil in New Zealand; Greens MP Criticized PM Key for Picking a 'Loser'

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By Reissa Su | February 4, 2014 5:05 PM EST

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key was disappointed over news that the U.S. oil company Anadarko was unable to find sufficient supply of oil in the Taranaki Basin. However, Mr Key remained optimistic that Anadarko will have better luck elsewhere.

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Natural gas flares are seen at an oil pump site outside Williston, North Dakota in this file photo taken March 11, 2013.

Anadarko announced it will leave its oil well in New Zealand's Taranaki Basin since it has not found significant quantities of natural gas or oil.

The prime minister said Anadarko is also disappointed despite their best efforts. Mr Key remarked it would have been "great" for New Zealand if the oil company had found something. He said Anadarko will be moving away from Taranaki Basin and look for oil in other parts of the country.

Anadarko's ship, the Noble Bob Douglas, will be heading to its next drilling site near the South Island coast. In a statement released on Jan 4, the oil company revealed that 4619 metres-deep well in Taranaki Basin did not yield "commercial quantities of oil or natural gas."

According to New Zealand regulations, the well will be closed or plugged. While Anadarko was disappointed with not finding oil, the company said it has gathered information which can be used in future oil drilling plans.

Following Anadarko's announcement, the Green Party has called on the New Zealand government to stop deep sea oil drilling. Green MP Gareth Hughes claimed that the government was "rolling out the red carpet" to the oil and gas industry. According to a the TVNZ's report, Mr Hughes said New Zealanders are worse off since the Key government picked a "loser."

In November 2013, Greenpeace protests boats have blocked the Noble Bob Douglas for about seven days in an attempt to delay deep sea oil drilling.

Anadarko had planned to begin drilling operations 185 kilometres off the coast of Raglan but it was blocked by six vessels in protest. One protest ship, the Vega, remained within the exclusion zone of 500 metres.

The protesters on board the ship include Greenpeace New Zealand chief executive Bunny McDiarmid and Jeanette Fitzsimmons, a former co-leader for the Green Party.

According to Anadarko, the presence of the protest boats within the drilling zone will not stop the operations. After the drilling began, Greenpeace filed for a judicial review of the decision allowing Anadarko to push through with oil drilling. New Zealand's High Court dismissed the issue in December. 

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(Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton / )
Natural gas flares are seen at an oil pump site outside Williston, North Dakota in this file photo taken March 11, 2013.
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