Since you’re reading this article, you probably have some connection or interest with the oil and gas industry. So it’s more than likely you know how important the energy we produce is to the world, and you also understand the role we are playing in tackling climate change.
Not everyone does though. This is a real challenge for our industry.
Here in New Zealand, we recently carried out a public opinion survey. It showed that 29% of respondents knew ‘a lot’ or ‘fair amount’ about the oil and gas industry – an 8% increase from a year earlier.
Those with a favourable opinion of the industry were 19% compared to 41% neutral and 32% unfavourable. Almost half – 47% – of respondents believe the New Zealand oil and gas industry is important to the economy.
These numbers are not as bad as critics might have predicted. But they do show the challenge we face in terms of informing the wider public.
At PEPANZ this is one of our key goals. We are committed to leading an open, honest and transparent discussion with New Zealanders about the role of oil and gas in our energy mix.
We are particularly proud of our website www.energymix.co.nz which gives fun, accessible and easy-to-understand information on our sector. It is aimed at the wider public and includes videos, graphics and useful factoids on how we operate and the big issues we face.
As well as this major investment, we are also using social media campaigns, new publications and media coverage to tell our story.
For example, we’re looking forward to producing a te reo Maori translation of IOGP’s excellent “Oil in Everyday Life” infographic, making it available in New Zealand’s indigenous language.
Building public understanding and support is important. New Zealand is considered a frontier location, with great potential for further development. We have 17 sedimentary basins with just one (Taranaki) in production, although exploration activity has been underway in other regions for a number of years.
All of this shows the importance of sharing ideas and resources through global industry groups like IOGP.
About Cameron Madgwick
Cameron Madgwick is the Chief Executive of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ).