HDPA: Coal import spike shows oil-gas ban was a 'whoops' from Government

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 Mar 2021, 5:37PM

HDPA: Coal import spike shows oil-gas ban was a 'whoops' from Government

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 Mar 2021, 5:37PM

There’s only one thing to say about coal and that’s ‘whoops’. 

Probably shouldn’t’ have banned the gas exploration eh? 

 The situation, FYI, is that we’re now learning we imported more coal last year than any year since 2006. 

We imported 1.1 million tonnes in 2020 - that’s more than we imported in 2017 and 2018 combined. 

And the reason?  Well, it looks like this can be directly sheeted back to the government’s oil and gas exploration ban three years ago.

Two reasons for this.

If we’re not looking for more gas, we will eventually not have any gas. But electricity companies use gas to fill in those down times when the wind isn’t blowing or the rivers are low.

But if they don’t have gas, they’re going to need coal, so they’re stockpiling.

According to ACT, our national coal stockpiles have gone from 40,000 tonnes to 166,000 in one year, and you know what that means: we’re going to be burning a lot of coal for a long time yet.

 And the second thing is that we’re getting less gas out of existing gas fields. 

Sometimes gas fields don’t perform as well as they should 

And need to be re-drilled 

Normally that could be done much more easily because we would have oil and gas exploration, so we would still have big drills coming to NZ regularly and the necessary workers here and they would be able to do the re-drilling in the existing gas fields. 

But we don’t, so we’re getting less now of what we should have.

And that is the consequence of a knee jerk ban.

You can ban anything you like because it sounds good and it’s a climate emergency and it’s the nuclear free moment of your generation, but you just made the situation a whole lot worse for the climate - because everyone knows coal is worse than gas.

So, if you supported the government’s oil and gas ban, good for you, but don’t say you weren’t warned.

Hope you don’t mind the coal-fired consequences of that ban.