Shell New Zealand is, remains and always has been willing and keen to talk to anyone who holds an opposing viewpoint and/or has concerns about Shell’s potential exploration activities in the Great South Basin.

Rob Jager, Shell New Zealand Chairman, says the company supports the right for peaceful, lawful protest action.

“We understand and in many ways share the concerns held for the environment and we go to great lengths to ensure that our activities have minimal impact on the environment in which we operate. Shell upholds protecting safety and the environment as the key principles and priorities for its activities. We are always eager to explain the lengths we go to protect people and the environment.

“I expect that most New Zealanders would like to hear more about our approach and what extracting gas from the Great South Basin, if it proceeds to that phase, would look like and what it could bring to a region like Otago.”

Mr Jager said today’s meeting, hosted in the Dunedin City Council chambers, was mostly responding to issues raised during the previous community engagement meeting about the company’s proposal to potentially drill an exploration well in the Great South Basin. A similar meeting will be held tomorrow in Invercargill.

“Environmental and economic questions predominate. We are able to point to how we have been safely operating offshore for more than 30 years in the challenging conditions off the coast of Taranaki and through being part of the Shell Group can tap into extensive global deepwater drilling experience, technology and expertise

“The benefits to that region are there for everyone to see, with higher incomes and added value as well as much industry support for community activities. We will continue to engage with anyone in Otago and Southland who wants to talk to us,” said Mr Jager.

“Regrettably, there is a tiny but very vocal minority who believe they have rights beyond those of a majority and can disrupt things to the point that the views and concerns of others are not heard or addressed,” says Mr Jager.

“I find this approach extremely disappointing as we are genuinely interested in understanding and responding to the issues and concerns of all parties. Shell will continue to look for opportunities to talk to those New Zealanders who are interested to hear about how we approach exploring a potential gas prospect and the benefits it can bring locally if it is developed. ”

Media contact:

Brendon Burns, Acting Corporate Communications Manager – (04) 4714514, (027) 431 1240

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