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Opposition to oil&gas exploitation, New Zealand

Workers and environmentalists ally to oppose prospections and deep shore drilling by oil giants Chevron, Statoil and Shell. They reject use of national resources for private profits


Chevron is a new entrant into the New Zealand oil and gas industry and it was recently awarded three offshore exploration permits in the Pegasus Basin, in partnership with StatOil, a Norwegian company planning to prospect off the Northland coast. All three permits are for 15 years, and in all three cases Chevron is the operator - and Chevron and Statoil each have a 50% share of the permit." [4]  In response, on 12 May 2015 Members of the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) gathered outside the New Zealand consulate in Perth to air their concerns over Chevron being granted a permit in New Zealand and to alert the New Zealand public to the poor practices of Chevron, that have led to major disputes in the Australian offshore oil and gas industry and around the world.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Opposition to oil&gas exploitation, New Zealand
Country:New Zealand
Location of conflict:Pegasus Basin
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Specific commodities:Crude oil
Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Chevron has operated in the downstream sector of New Zealand for more than 90 years, and plans to continue to build on these relationships with communities and government.

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Type of populationUrban
Start of the conflict:0000
Company names or state enterprises:Statoil from Norway
Chevron Polska Energy Resources Sp. z o.o. from United States of America
Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) from Netherlands
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Members of the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) ;
International Transport Workers Federation (ITF);
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Informal workers
International ejos
Trade unions
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
many local campaigns with signatures
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Global warming
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil contamination, Oil spills, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Under negotiation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The protests slowed down the planned of three offshore exploration permits in the Pegasus Basin from Chevron and Statoil and at now the situation is under negotiation.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Philosophy & Praxis of Non-Violent Direct Action From (past) Indigenous Resistance To (present) Environmental Campaigning In Aotearoa – New Zealand
[click to view]

THESIS: Moreno Ibáñez Marta, THE ENVIRONMENT AS A SPACE FOR POWER-RELATED DISPUTES. Offshoreoilexploration in New Zealand: A clash between corporate interests, governmental agenda and indigenous peoples’ rights, 23 May 2013; Abstract:
[click to view]

[1], Chevron Acquires Blocks Offshore New Zealand, December 2014
[click to view]

[2]Lois Williams, Deep-sea oil drilling protest in Northland, Radionz, 28 August 2015
[click to view]

[3]Perth protest rally targets Chevron’s New Zealand operation, 13 May 2015
[click to view]

[4] Maorielevision, Protestors against Chevron take concerns to NZ consulate in Perth, 13 May 2015.
[click to view]

[5], Greenpeace activists occupy Government climate ship caught searching for oil, Greenpeace, November 24, 2015
[click to view]

[6] Shell quits Southern drilling plans - wheelscoming of government programme, Greenpeace, October 1, 2015
[click to view]

[7] Theguardian,New Zealand Greenpeace protesters scale parliament roof, The guardian, 25 June 2015
[click to view]


Greenpeace activists convicted but receive no further punishment over 10-hour occupation of theTangaroa, Greenpeace, February 11, 2016
[click to view]

[9]TOKO hosted by Greenpeace, BLOCK THE OFFER
[click to view]

Chevron New Zealand
[click to view]

New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals, Block Offer 2016
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Listen to Northland reporter Lois Williams on Checkpoint
[click to view]

Maoritelevision, Protestors against Chevron take concerns to NZ consulate in Perth, 13 May 2015
[click to view]

Other documents

Theguardian,New Zealand Greenpeace protesters scale parliament roof,25 June 2015
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Myriam Bartolucci, EjAtlas internship researcher, [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2251
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