It will be interesting to see what meaningful comments will come from Energy & Resources Minister Megan Woods at the 2018 New Zealand Petroleum Conference when opens in Wellington today.
She is one of the guest speakers for the event which undoubtedly will see anti-oil exploration protestors in throngs in the Wellington Street to capture the attention of an accepting media.
The momentum for anti-oil exploration reached a height earlier this month when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, a climate change proponent, who accepted a protest petition from Greenpeace and implied something may happen on oil exploration permits. This, NZResources said, was akin to a Pandora’s Box scenario.
That was music to the ears of Greenpeace, the Green Party and all their vocal supporters, and social media has been going into overdrive on the need to stop oil exploration, with the advocates now also including church groups.
Let’s hope the protests don’t include the same blocking moves at the conference venue to prevent delegates from entering, as happened at the recent petroleum conference in New Plymouth.
Organiser Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ) said it was expecting 500 delegates from across the oil and gas industry.
PEPANZ chief executive Cameron Madgwick said the forum will discuss big issues facing the sector, including the challenge of how to provide enough energy for a growing world while reducing net emissions.
“The energy provided by oil and gas is a fundamental part of our daily life. It provides half of NZ’s energy, used to move people and goods, heat our homes, cook our food and create a range of essential goods from fertilisers to medical supplies.
“At the same time, we recognise the challenges of climate change and want to be involved in tackling this. The role of natural gas as a transition fuel will be crucial by displacing higher emission fuels, delivering a win-win for New Zealand’s economy and environment.”
As well as Minister Woods, the guest speakers will include:
- Kylie Cochrane, global lead-communication and stakeholder engagement at Aurecon.
- Brian Sullivan, executive director of IPIECA, the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues.
Madgwick said: “There will undoubtedly be protest action and while we absolutely respect the right to protest, we just ask the activists to obey the law and respect other people’s rights as well.
“People have the right to go about their daily business and attend events like this.”