EPA consents Shell Taranaki jack-up drill rig

Shell Taranaki Limited’s applications for marine and marine discharge consents to use a jack-up drilling rig within the Maui field in the South Taranaki Bight have been granted by the Environmental Protection Authority, subject to conditions.

These consents are in addition to the 2015 consents granted to Shell by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for ongoing operations in the Maui Gas Field including drilling activities.

The decision was made by an EPA appointed Decision-making Committee (DMC) chaired by Kerry Prendergast with Gerda Kuschel and Miria Pomare as members.

All three members agreed to grant consent based on the information from submissions and evidence provided in a process that included a public hearing in New Plymouth.

The DMC found that the potential effects of the proposed activities, including cumulative effects will be either temporary or involve small areas (or low proportions) of marine habitat and can be managed by the conditions of consent.

While the proposed conditions were generally appropriate, the DMC made a number of changes to ensure that the environmental effects of the application will be appropriately managed.

Summary of marine consent conditions

  • No more than one jack-up rig can be placed on the seabed in the Maui field at any one time.
  • The jack-up rig can be installed and removed up to a cumulative total of 12 times within the existing 500 metre exclusion zones around the Māui platforms
  • The jack-up rig can also be installed and removed at up to 8 times at locations outside these exclusion zones.

Summary of marine discharge consent conditions

  • Shell may only use CHARM Gold or Non-CHARM E substances which have low ecotoxicity. (Chemical Hazard and Risk Management (CHARM) is an internationally recognised system for managing chemical risk.)
  • The EPA is responsible for considering all environmental impacts from the installation and operation of drilling rigs including the impacts from the discharge of any quantity of chemicals into the ocean.

A copy of the full decision is available here.