Environmental campaigners on Tuesday called on the New Zealand government to scrap controversial plans to open the nation's waters to deep-sea oil and gas production after U.S. giant Anadarko abandoned an exploratory well off the west of the North Island.
Anadarko New Zealand manager Alan Seay told Radio New Zealand the company had found no commercially viable oil in the Taranaki Basin, where it had been drilling since November last year.
The Texas company confirmed it had drilled to the maximum limit of 4,600 meters, but found no commercial quantities of oil and gas.
The drilling sparked a flotilla protest and an unsuccessful High Court challenge for the right to explore.
The company would now move to the Canterbury Basin site off the east of the South Island to explore for oil and gas, according to the report.
The opposition Green Party called on the government to abandon their "failing" deep-sea drilling plans.
"The government is playing 'deep sea oil roulette,' hoping for oil while ignoring other sectors like clean energy where the jobs actually are," Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said in a statement.
The Environmental Defense Society (EDS), in a submission Monday, called for the government's proposed new offshore oil and gas regulations to be dropped, saying they were "inadequate and weak" compared to existing regulations, and exposed the environment to unacceptable risk.
The regulations provided no public scrutiny, oversight or hearing for proposed exploration drilling.
"This creates a real possibility of regulatory capture by the industry, one of the factors that a Presidential Inquiry found contributed to the Deepwater Horizon spill," EDS chairman Gary Taylor said in a statement.
"Regulatory capture is made even more likely by the fact that ministers are acting as outspoken advocates for the sector in order, presumably, to counter pressure from interest groups that don't want any oil and gas exploration."