The ODT reports:
A group of Dunedin businesses is moving to claim the high ground as debate intensifies over the arrival of oil companies in Otago waters.
However, with Anadarko’s drilling ship, the Noble Bob Douglas, due by the end of the month, protest group Oil Free Otago has also warned more protest action could be expected.
The warning came days after a group of four Dunedin businessmen created a new group, Pro Oil and Gas Otago, to spell out their support for gas exploration off Dunedin’s coast.
The group’s Facebook page has attracted more than 1300 ”likes” since Saturday, including from pro-drilling city councillors Andrew Whiley and Mike Lord, and support was continuing to climb.
Spokeswoman Robyn Broughton, of Dunedin, said the group wanted to counter ”scaremongering” by opponents of oil and gas exploration, and planned to meet representatives from the Dunedin City Council and oil companies.
A public event designed to demonstrate the city’s willingness to embrace the industry and its potential economic benefits was being discussed, although plans were yet to be confirmed, she said.
The city had an opportunity for ”astronomical” economic benefits from a natural gas find, but public debate to date suggested the city would not welcome the industry.
”I don’t want to see my grandchildren raised in London or Europe. I want something that will encourage our young people to come home … [gas drilling] has the ability to do that,” Mrs Broughton said.
It’s nice that some people are prepared to speak up for economic growth.
Their Facebook page now has almost 3,000 likes.