Tamarind Taranaki Limited is insolvent and no longer has a contract with BW Offshore Limited for storage and offtake of oil, yet the sub-sea infrastructure - petroleum mining equipment such as pipelines and cables - owned by Tamarind is still connected to the Umuroa, a floating production, storage and offloading vessel.
BWO has asked the Environmental Protection Authority for rulings under section 162 of the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (environmental effects) Act 2012 which would allow it to carry out certain activities to 'disconnect and sail away' from the Tui oil field, leaving some petroleum mining equipment on the sea floor.
Te Kāhui o Taranaki the iwi authority for Taranaki iwi does not agree with oil, gas and mineral extraction activities in their rohe / area of interest but will work with industry to create better outcomes within the circumstances.
Te Kāhui o Taranaki and Ngāti Tara hapū were notified of the earlier applications by Tamarind for marine discharge and marine consent for development drilling in 2017 and 2018.
In good faith Te Kāhui o Taranaki and Ngāti Tara hapū engaged with Tamarind to ensure that they give proper consideration using a specifically designed cultural values assessment of effects.
Te Kāhui o Taranaki Chairperson Leanne Horo is concerned that all operators and their successors have not honoured the good faith engagement with Taranaki iwi.
"Any decision to dump will set a dangerous precedent especially during a time when new decommissioning regulations are being created to prevent irreversible legacy issues. This is not genuine engagement and will give industry a worse reputation than it already has among our people."
"Fundamentally, Taranaki Iwi and the hapū of Ngāti Tara are opposed to this activity," she says.
Te Kāhui o Taranaki Pou Taiao Puna Wano-Bryant says that the protection of the environment is a main focus for Taranaki iwi.
"Taranaki iwi focus on protecting, enhancing and sustaining the mouri of Tangaroa ki Tai. We are a coastal people and many of our traditions reflect continuous connection with our coastal marine environment."
"Our Taranaki Iwi Environmental Management Plan Taiao Taiora requires an assessment of the cumulative impact associated with ongoing invasive activities such as leaving structures on the seabed.
"Taranaki Iwi and Ngāti Tara were clear in all their engagements that all operators commit to the removal of all structures that are placed or deposited on the seabed. Tamarind agreed to this."
"In Tamarind's consent, the EPA included a specific condition for cessation of drilling works confirming that the structures that were placed on the seabed to undertake the drilling work are removed."
She says if there is a technicality which excludes production infrastructure being removed such as wellheads and flowlines then they expect the Crown to step in.
"We welcome all people as visitors to our rohe and expect that if they make a mess they clean up all of it before they leave, not just half of it." she says.