4 Jun 2013

Work at noisy drill site suspended

7:33 pm on 4 June 2013

A petrochemical company has suspended operations at an onshore gas drilling site in Taranaki after failing to meet noise requirements.

Tag Oil stopped drilling a well at the Sidewinder field near Inglewood on Friday because noise from the rig was above 45 decibels at night. The nearest resident lives 200 metres away.

The company said it is doing its best to make operations quieter, but measures such as building a wall of containers to drown out the noise have not worked.

The New Plymouth District Council issued a notice through the Environment Court last week ordering Tag Oil to make the rig quieter to comply with its consent.

Consent manager Ralph Broad said the rig has been a problem for residents since February this year and other measures, including lowering the site, have not worked.

A neighbour to the well site said it is good that the council is forcing Tag Oil to comply with regulations, but has little faith there will be any real improvement.

Gaylene Kay said the noise and constant vibrations is damaging her house and have been happening for a year.

Ms Kay said the noise makes her want to sell up and move, but she is unlikely to find a buyer because of it.