I was disappointed, but not surprised to see Petrobras has maintained its record of at least one leak a month since November 2011.
The company reported a leak during commissioning of a submarine system last week at its Chinook field in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. 1,700 litres of toluene, a solvent, and 2,800 litres of asphalt inhibitor were leaked before US authorities were notified.
The Chinook field is adjacent to the Cascade field, where in March last year Petrobras narrowly avoided another major spill in the Gulf after a production riser broke away just a few days before oil was due to start flowing.
Submissions on the draft regulations for our Exclusive Economic Zone close 5pm Wednesday 20th June. The proposed regulations pertaining to petroleum activities are based on rules from the United States that have been criticised there for having insufficient tests to ensure emergency mechanisms actually work. There is no assurance the offshore drilling industry is prepared for a wide variety of possible emergency scenarios that don’t look like what happened to BP’s Macondo well two years ago.
Michael Bromwich, the man charged with overseeing the development of new federal offshore drilling rules for the US, says that his government “doesn’t have sufficient resources to prepare for a full range of worst-case scenarios”. The US government has more than ten times New Zealand’s budget for environmental protection.
So I wonder how the heck the public of New Zealand can have any confidence that these rushed EEZ “regulations” are going to do anything other than provide an utterly false sense of security?