8 May 2011

Protest flotilla returns after oil exploration work ends

10:14 pm on 8 May 2011

Greenpeace said the flotillas protesting oil exploration work being carried out off the North Island's east coast would return to shore on Sunday after the work finished earlier than the everyone anticipated.

It says it hopes opposition to the Brazilian company Petrobras's oil exploration work played a hand in the company finishing its work.

Petrobras announced on Sunday that it finished its seismic survey last week.

The announcement came as a protest flotilla headed to the Raukumara Basin to demonstrate.

Greenpeace's executive director, Bunny McDiarmid, the skipper of one of the three protest vessels, says she's pleased Petrobras has finished and the campaign will continue on land.

Petrobras says its data will now be analysed, through to May next year.

Petrobras was awarded a permit in 2010 to explore 12,000 square kilometres of the Raukumara Basin for gas and oil.