The Australian company running the offshore Tui oilfield says it would be its first “environmental blemish” if an oil spill on the Taranaki coast came from the field.
Authorities are trying to find out if the sticky black blobs of oil found on a 10-kilometre stretch of coast south of New Plymouth came from the Tui field or from somewhere else.
The coast is known as a top surfing area. No wildlife appears to have been harmed by the spill and there is no sign of an oil slick at sea.
Australian Worldwide Exploration is the operator of the billion-dollar Tui oilfield about 60km from the affected area.