Everywhere OMV looks, Greenpeace is there.
This month, the Austrian-headquartered oil and gas company had staff working from home as protesters blockaded its New Plymouth offices, where a sprawling "history of oil" museum was erected.
Many of the same protesters had earlier boarded the Skandi Atlantic, a support vessel to the company's drilling campaign, while it was in port in Timaru (before announcing they were fleeing to New Plymouth in a van for the next protest).
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Court challenges have been made against OMV's consent applications being granted by the Environmental Protection Agency (the challenge failed).
Even, once, from the comfort of its Australasian headquarters on the 20th floor of Wellington's tallest building, the protesters have shown their faces.
Climbers scaled the Majestic Centre in July. As well as erecting signs of "EVICT OMV", the climbers wrote on the windows of OMV's offices before continuing upwards, where they were eventually met by police.
"And immediately released," Gabriel Selischi, who heads OMV's operations in New Zealand and Australia, says from those offices.
The Romanian-born, French educated career oil and gas man has worked in countries across the world, but has never seen anything like it.
OMV has been operating in New Zealand since 1999 and has grown to become by some margin the country's largest gas producer, supplying around 55 per cent of all domestic production.
Its products are used by many thousands of businesses, from fertiliser companies to craft breweries and dairy factories, as well as hundreds of thousands of homes.
"It's very difficult to conceive how the country would be able to cope without this," Selischi said.
He also warned the situation could become untenable.
During the New Plymouth protests, OMV moved some of its operations to back-up locations because production would have had to be shut down if protesters had infiltrated its control room.
Staff have become stressed about the situation.
Selischi said while his company is the target of protest, the entire industry is concerned.
"I don't see myself being able to continue to operate as today, and commit large amounts of money if this disruption will become more systematic," he said.
From Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods, there was nothing more than an acknowledgement that OMV was legally within its rights to operate in New Zealand.
"We are seeing globally an increase in protest against fossil fuels as people become more aware of the need for a transition. This is a fact of life for these industries and one they need to acknowledge," Woods said in a statement.
"Here in New Zealand, there is a right to protest and for our citizens to make their voice heard, but also a legal right for permit operators to conduct their business."
The big drill
OMV is not being targetted because it produces oil, but because it is looking to see whether New Zealand has any more hidden beneath the sea floor.
This summer, the company is set to spend the best part of $500,000,000 on an exploration campaign in the waters off the Taranaki coast - home to New Zealand's industry - but also much more controversially, in the Great South Basin, off the coast of Otago.
Despite the protests by Greenpeace, drilling from the giant COSL prospector in the Gladstone permit off the Taranaki coast began on December 11.
Selischi claims to be perplexed.
"The fact that there is such attention given to exploration, is somehow, illogical. Exploration will just tell you you have something you could use. And by the way, government, you don't pay. You pay nada for it," he said.
"It's just me risking the money, just to prove there is something possible there."
While drilling in Taranaki is commonplace, there has been little activity off the east coast of the lower South Island, with only two wells since the 1985.
The well in the GSB prospect is considered "deep" with the ocean depth at about 1500m, but Selischi said there is "nothing exceptional" about the well, with a number of wells drilled at deeper depths in the South Island historically (without incident) and recently across the Tasman.
Greenpeace, however, has described the drilling as "reckless", comparing the well to the BP Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
Selischi apologised for becoming "emotional" when discussing the claims.
"Who in the hell has been defining what is reckless drilling? Has there been a driller interviewed?" he said.
The rig being used was designed to cope with weather conditions at least as bad as it was likely to encounter. There was "nothing exceptional" about the characteristics of well it was planning to drill.
A child leaving home
Selischi likened the situation facing New Zealand's energy system to a child which enjoyed a nice lifestyle inherited from its parents but was now facing difficult choices as the situation changed: declining gas supply.
"New Zealand has been has been lucky to have a number of very significant gas discoveries for a country with relatively small needs in terms of energy."
Since the discovery of the massive Maui field (now owned by OMV after its 2017 purchase of the New Zealand assets of Shell), a series of large gas discoveries relative to the country's demand meant supply was plentiful.
This led to a relatively small amount of exploration and what exploration has occurred has yielded little, with no commercial discoveries since 2006.
Selischi said this was starting to bite, with Pohokura, a major field majority owned by OMV, now in decline.
"For many years, there was a buffer, and that was taken for granted and this buffer does not exist any more."
As the lack of buffer emerged, the Government made a risky bet when it called symbolic time on the industry with a ban on new offshore permits, despite the economy remaining dependent on petroleum products.
"If renewable solutions are coming so quickly and are able to offset ... consumption [of petroleum products] then it's something which was wise. But can you bet energy of supply in this way?"
The story the OMV tells - disputed by the Government - is that New Zealand does not have enough gas, or more precisely, not enough to smoothly move away from petrol products without sending industrial activity elsewhere, possibly less efficiently than here.
"Should we be importing oil from Saudi Arabia? Canadian tar sands with high emissions?"
The argument about what products should be used where is central to the industry's argument for its existence here.
After the Government announced the offshore permit ban, its own officials warned the move could be counterproductive to global climate targets, as methanol exported from New Zealand tended to displace higher-emitting fuels, such as coal, globally.
Although the timing may be coincidental, recent trends in New Zealand's energy consumption show more gas would be a help locally with emission reductions right now.
Supply problems in the gas market led to heavy demand for Indonesian coal for the Huntly Power Station. This meant coal imports rose above 1 million tonnes a year in 2018/19, the highest level since 2006.
"What does that [coal] mean? According to [energy analyst] John Kidd, that's 500,000 Corollas on the road," Selischi said.
Kidd, a leading energy analyst has placed himself firmly on the side of OMV, writing a lengthy report not only describing the potential financial rewards from a successful OMV drilling campaign, but grim warnings about the impact on industry if the campaign fails.
He was paid to write the report, but has been issuing strident warnings about the pressure on New Zealand's energy system for well over a year.
Some of his descriptions are cute - including his "Corolla years equivalent" measure Selischi references - to compare polluting uses of fuel in conference presentations.
But his warning about what declining gas supplies could do to consumers is serious.
"Right now, we've seen the strongest hydrology we've had in a decade. We're sitting at about 160 per cent of average [hydro lake storage] because of the deluge in the South Island," Kidd said.
"We've still got electricity prices which are well ahead of long-run average. Why is that? Well, there is great concern at the moment about security of supply for the last mile of the market."
Kidd's report warned that without fresh gas discoveries or success in boosting production from existing fields, New Zealand's industrial sector would suffer.
Rio Tinto blames high energy costs for its decision to conduct a strategic review at the Towai Point aluminium smelter, while Methanex has curtailed production at its methanol plants this summer.
While the smelter's departure could suppress wholesale electricity prices, Kidd argues that if Methanex was to leave, gas prices would almost certainly rise.
The Energy Minister pointed to relatively steady gas reserves, blaming gas delivery on infrastructure. "With strong reserves and over 70,000 square kilometres worth of existing permits, we are confident in our security of supply," Woods statement added.
OMV is not alone in its warnings about gas supplies.
Todd Corp, the family-owned business empire with major energy interests claiming New Zealand faced a "fundamental" decline in the supply of gas in the coming decade.
"If not managed well, it has the potential to cause significant short-run shocks in energy supply and prices" within a decade, chief executive, Jon Young said this month.
Would discovery spark a review?
If a discovery off the Taranaki Coast could reduce strain on the market, what might a significant discovery in Otago uncover?
"As a country, I think New Zealand should know if this is available for an eventual future," Selischi said.
Kidd said a major discovery in the South Island could prompt debate, but even if there wasn't one, he believed that if the Government was sincere in its climate targets, it should be willing to open the oil and gas decision up to scrutiny.
If it did so - if the Climate Change Commission did consider the ban - he believed it may conclude the Government's move on oil exploration "does not hold water".
"What this [campaign] might do is refocus people's minds towards what the actual problem is that we're trying to solve here," Kidd said.
"There's a really strong conceptual case, even on a national basis, there's a really strong argument to suggest emissions will increase as a result of this announcement.
"But if you push the boat out more broadly, which is of course the purpose of this, climate change is not a New Zealand specific problem. If you were to go deeper and ask hard questions - is methanol produced in New Zealand a good thing compared to what the counterfactual would be, absolutely it is, in the same way aluminium is and the same way that producing gas in New Zealand would be a net positive for the World Inc because it would result in a reduction in emissions elsewhere in the global economy. There's absolutely no doubt about that."