Beach Energy has applied for a ‘consent to discharge trace amounts of harmful substances’ from the deck drains of a mobile offshore drilling unit as part of an exploration drilling campaign in the Canterbury Basin, off New Zealand.
This was revealed by the Environmental Protection Authority of New Zealand, which said residual amounts of harmful substances were sometimes found in deck drainage after the clean-up of minor spills.
Public submissions on the application will be open until Friday, 6 July 2020. Thereafter, if any parties request to be heard, a public hearing will be held within 40 working days.
Beach Energy has applied for the period of the consent to last up until 7 November 2029.
New Zealand banned all new offshore exploration permits in April 2018, but the ban does not affect existing permits and Beach Energy is one of four operators engaged in activities in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
The Canterbury Basin Exploration and Appraisal Drilling Programme proposed by Beach encompasses one initial exploration well to assess the Wherry prospect. The well is located approximately 168 kilometres from Timaru in water depths of 1,300 metres.
Drilling is expected to begin in late 2020 or early 2021 and will take four to eight weeks, subject to rig availability, weather conditions, and approvals.
The EPA also stated that Beach Energy might also consider a work programme in Petroleum Exploration Permit 38264 of up to 11 follow-up exploration or appraisal wells, which would determine whether consents were required for production drilling.