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Otaraua Hapu occupation of mine reaches 17 days

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The Taranaki hapu of Otaraua have been holding their ground near Waitara for 17 days now while the Greymouth Petroleum Co still refuses to meet with them on site. Production has been completely stopped in the meantime. About 50 protesters blockaded the gate entrance to the wellsite on Ngatimaru Rd at Tikorangi on March 22nd, in an attempt to stop preparations for drilling through their Tikorangi/Awatetake Pa. [ More ]

The hillside pa contains precious natural water springs that feed the neighbouring people and are used for various traditional ceremonies. The pa was once home to Otaraua ancestors with urupa/burial grounds and remains of habitation still present. The land is currently leased to a neighbouring farmer however the government claims under the Crown Minerals Act to own all land to a certain depth under the ground, which therefor allowed the mining permit given to Greymouth Petroleum Co. [ More ]

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Re: Otaraua Hapu occupation of mine reaches 17 days

Article from Energy Sector: http://www.energynews.co.nz/news/maori/2922/greymouth-moves-to-settle-ma...

"Greymouth moves to settle Maori dispute so Kowhai gas can flow"

Neil Ritchie on Tuesday, 31 March 2009 - 00:30

"Greymouth Petroleum's dispute with a Taranaki tribe regarding the operation of its onshore Taranaki Kowhai gas-condensate field looks likely to be settled soon, enabling the completion of an underground gas pipeline that will allow the exporting of Kowhai gas south to the Kapuni ammonia urea plant.

Members of the Otaraua hapu of the Ngati Maru iwi have been occupying the Tikorangi Pa site for over a week, protesting what they describe as the possible desecration of a waahi tapu (sacred site) by the gas pipeline project from the Kowhai A wellsite to nearby gas processing facilities.

Otaraua chairman David Doorbar says the iwi is looking forward to a constructive hui with Greymouth chief executive Mark Dunphy later this week that should see an end to their occupation of land at the pa site, which is also the entrance to the wellsite.

Greymouth chief operating officer John Sturgess has said that subsidiary company Petrochem has already consulted widely with tangata whenua hapu and iwi, regarding possible waahi tapu sites as part of its ongoing Tikorangi area programmes that could see up to eight Kowhai wells drilled. Petrochem operates the Kowhai field.

He says the proposed 300 metre underboring of a gas export pipeline will allow gas from the Kowhai field to be connected to the Vector operated high-pressure gas reticulation network for piping south to the Ballance Agri-Nutrients' ammonia urea plant at Kapuni. He adds that Kowhai gas will then be used in the production process of New Zealand fertiliser.

Presently Kowhai gas is being flared at the wellsite after initial treatment to separate out the condensate (light oil) and to store it on the site for later delivery to the Omata tank farm near Port Taranaki for subsequent export, either to the Marsden Point oil refinery or overseas.

During late 2007 Auckland-headquartered Greymouth acquired Petrochem and its 20% interest in the Kowhai exploration licence PEP 38742. Then last May Greymouth purchased, for about USD $15 million, the other 80% interest, the then sole remaining major New Zealand asset of departing United States independent Swift Energy.

Though Swift suspended the Kowhai-A1 well it drilled during 2006 after some encouraging gas shows it did not develop the resource, while Greymouth has moved to commercialise the discovery through further testing and, it is believed, the drilling of a second well.

Last August Greymouth reported that Kowhai had flowed gas from the Matapo sandstones - the first time this formation had flowed commercial quantities of gas, with flow rates exceeding 1 million cubic feet per day. The Matapo sands are located between the Oligocene-aged Otaraoa sandstone and the Eocene-aged Turi formation.

Dunphy said then that Petrochem planned to make an application to the Ministry of Economic Development's Crown Minerals unit for a petroleum mining permit to produce Kowhai gas for sale."

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Re: Otaraua Hapu occupation of mine reaches 17 days

Talks begin but hapu not moving

By HARRIET PALMER - Taranaki Daily News

Last updated 05:00 09/04/2009

After almost three weeks of stand-off between Otaraua hapu and Greymouth Petroleum talks have begun.

The hapu maintains its occupation of the entrance to the company's Kowhai oil well in Tikorangi but met CEO Mark Dunphy on Monday.

Otaraua hapu spokeswoman Donna Eriwata said while an agreement had not been reached over the laying of a pipeline through waahi tapu (sacred) land, the hapu was happy with the way things were progressing.

"We're very pleased with preliminary talks and the bettering of relationships between the two of us," she said.

Ms Eriwata and members of the North Taranaki hapu started occupying the site on March 22 after it was felt there had been a lack of consultation by Greymouth Petroleum.

The hapu claims the proposed pipeline runs through the original Tikorangi Pa.

She said the community was continuing to support the hapu as it continued to wait for a written agreement work would stop.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/2325033/Talks-begin-but-...