December 4, 2012. Source: The New Zealand Herald
Brazilian oil company Petrobras has handed back exploration licences it holds for deep sea oil and gas prospects in the Raukumara Basin, off East Cape, in what appears a reaction to a string of difficulties which have seen the oil giant report losses for the first time in 13 years.
Prime Minister John Key told The New Zealand Herald that the decision was “not a reflection on the capacity to undertake deep-sea drilling or the prospect of activity of that area.”
The Raukumara Basin lies in very deep water off the east coast of the North Island and has barely been explored. Petrobras contracted a seismic survey ship to undertake initial surveys of parts of the basin early last year, where it encountered stiff opposition from a protest flotilla organised by Greenpeace and a local Maori tribe, Te Whanau a Apanui.
The New Zealand Navy was despatched to ensure the seismic survey could continue.