Cabinet has approved the mid-point review of the Oil Pollution Levy (OPL) to reflect updated risk and to ensure Maritime NZ can deliver on the current Marine Oil Spill Readiness and Response Strategy. The OPL funds New Zealand’s maritime oil pollution preparedness and response system.
Maritime NZ consulted with the maritime, oil and gas industries, on three options as part of the recent OPL mid-point review. Maritime NZ Director, Keith Manch, says the majority of submissions received supported Option 2 (as outlined in the consultation document) – adjusting the OPL to maintain the target revenue for the period 2019-22 as consulted on in 2015/16.
“There was general support for the chosen option and proposed changes,” says Mr Manch, “The chosen option, supported by careful planning and allocation of resources, will ensure most of the Marine Oil Spill Readiness and Response Strategy is delivered by 2022 as intended.”
Six maritime sectors make contributions to the OPL, each paying a risk share based on latest national and international accident and incident data, and New Zealand data for vessel routes and numbers, volume and type of oil carried, and environmental impact information.
“The levy reflects updated risk shares, based on this latest data, meaning some sectors pay more and some pay less. Although the likelihood of a major marine oil spill is low, the environmental, financial and cultural impacts of such an incident could be hugely significant.”
“This mid-point review comes three years into our six year capability improvement programme. Maritime NZ has made significant progress to date replacing older equipment, and increasing New Zealand’s ability to respond to oil spills further from shore,” says Mr Manch.
“The OPL ensures that New Zealand continues to protect in-shore and near-shore areas in the event of a spill; manage oil spills further out to sea close to the source; and manage the likelihood and consequences of oil spills through effective response and improved technical and scientific knowledge.”
Revenue generated by the OPL funds a range of activities and services, including Maritime NZ’s Marine Pollution Response Service; the maintenance of, and investment in, equipment and capabilities to respond to oil spills; and oversight and assurance of the response services provided by the oil and gas industry, maritime operators and regional councils.