17 Aug 2011

Oil and gas venture to meet iwi over survey

6:37 am on 17 August 2011

A venture that will explore part of the Great Southern Basin for oil and gas says it will keep talking to Ngai Tahu about the environmental effects of its operation.

Shell is partnering with the New Zealand subsidiary of the Austrian exploration and production company OMV, which has announced it will start seismic surveying off Southland in December.

It will survey an area of about 3000 square km, about 100km off the Catlins.

The consortium has met runanga in Otago and Southland and is planning to hold environmental meetings with the tribe on 28 August.

The venture says Ngai Tahu has not sought any assurances yet - and none have been given.

OMV New Zealand's managing director Peter Zeilinger says he's an open book with the community.

He says he's been to Dunedin and Invercargill to explain what its survey vessel will look like, what it will do, and what it carries onboard.

Mr Zeilinger says drilling is still years off. He's not ruling out finding oil, but says it's more likely that gas will be discovered.