Tuesday 17th September 2019
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OMV has been granted a marine discharge consent for part of its planned activities in the Great South Basin, the Environmental Protection Authority said in a statement.
The consent was granted by a decision-making committee appointed by the EPA, which held a hearing in Dunedin over three days between July 30 and Aug. 1.
OMV plans to explore for oil and gas off the South Island's southeast coast. It is planning one well – Tawhaki-1 – about 146 kilometres south-east of Balclutha early next year. The well lies in about 1,300 metres of water so is not especially deep by international or New Zealand standards and has about a one-in-six chance of success, the company estimates.
As part of that process, OMV needed consent for any accidental discharges of trace amounts of harmful substances from the deck drains of the drilling rig it uses.
Overall, the committee found that potential adverse effects on the environment from the discharges - modelled at up to 250 ml - would be negligible. Despite this, OMV must comply with a number of conditions, which have been designed to avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse effects of any discharge of harmful substances, the EPA said.
These include ensuring that no harmful substances are stored or handled in non-hazardous areas and any harmful substances that have a reasonable potential for discharge from hazardous and/or non-hazardous deck drains on-board any drilling rig are stored within a secondary containment system. Also, OMV must notify the EPA as soon as "reasonably practicable," but within 24 hours, after a spill into the sea of any harmful substances first becomes known, or should have become known.
The EPA noted that OMV requires multiple consents under the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf Act to undertake the exploration and development programme.
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