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29/06/2018 - General News

Z Energy calls for Z Card customers with any concerns to contact Z

Z Energy would like to assure customers that the current Z card online system is secure and there is no evidence to date that vulnerabilities in the former system resulted in any data manipulation. However, customers with any concerns around the previous system should contact the company. 

On 29 November last year, Z was informed by a member of the public that they could view other customers’ accounts, as exampled by a screenshot of Z’s own corporate fleet.

Z Chief Executive Mike Bennetts said that Z believed this person’s intent was to help Z improve system security and had no reason to believe that any data was going to be shared or used in any way.

“We took it in good faith that this person would not share or exploit this information as we immediately went about fixing the vulnerability.

“We also immediately began investigating previous activity in the Z card online system, and undertook additional security monitoring from the time we were first notified.

“We, and our external cyber security experts, did not detect any suspicious activity around any of our customers’ data. Nor have we had any reports from customers of suspicious activity for a period prior to and post the first notification.

“When this same person raised concerns with the security upgrade we had put in place, we immediately took the maximum precaution of taking the site down completely,” said Mike.  

The database in question used to hold Z card customer data such as name, address, registration number, vehicle type and credit limits. The system did not include bank or payment details.  

Mike said that while Z, and the cyber security experts it has engaged, have not detected any customer data being compromised, Z is committed to assisting customers in any way possible in relation to this incident.

“I want to be clear that we, and our external cyber security experts, could not and still have not, found any evidence of anyone tampering with customer accounts. The incident continues to be investigated by Z’s external cyber security experts and we will inform customers if any new information is uncovered.”

Mike said that some customers will quite fairly feel like they should have been told more explicitly about the issue.

“We had to make a difficult decision when notifying customers of the vulnerability, and we’re sorry that we have not been as straight up as we normally are,” said Mike.

“From the time this was first brought to our attention, we continually sought external expert cyber security advice as to how to deal with and message this vulnerability to our customers.

“The advice was to talk about this as a technical issue. External cyber security experts we spoke to strongly advised against talking about this publicly as a data privacy issue due to additional publicity typically increasing the risk of cyber security threats.

“We repeatedly challenged this counsel as it did not sit well with our values, but ultimately chose to follow the advice of our experts given our commitment to cyber security and mitigating risk to customer data and privacy.

“The advice from cyber security experts has proven to be true as, since this issue was reported, we have noticed an increase in targeted suspicious activity towards the new Z card system from offshore IP addresses.

“We continue to monitor this activity and any further potential risk. While no system is completely immune to attacks, Z’s new platform meets high standards of cyber security,” said Mike.

The reason Z is choosing to talk about this openly now is because of a screenshot of Z’s corporate fleet account being sent to the media by a member of the public who accessed the system. As a result, Z is no longer treating this historic issue as a vulnerability, instead treating it as a breach, and has voluntarily informed the Privacy Commissioner of the issue.

Customers should contact their account managers or the Z Energy call centre (general@z.co.nz or 0800 474 355) if they have any concerns or would like to speak with someone directly.

 

Media: Sheena Thomas 027 551 2589; Nicola Law 021 192 8181

27/06/2018 - General News

Z Card online data

Z Energy Limited is aware that customer data from its Z Card online database (ZCOL) was accessed by a third party in late November 2017. 

This system enables the customer to manage their fleets directly, rather than through requests to a call centre.

The third party found a way to get unauthorised access to the part of the database that holds data about customer fleets such as names, addresses, registrations numbers, vehicle types and Z Card credit limits.

With the evidence provided to Z to date, the company believes the data accessed does not include bank details, or other information that would put customer finances directly at risk. That is because these sort of customer details were not held within the system that was accessed for security reasons. Z is committed to assisting customers in any way possible in relation to this incident.

Z has alerted the Privacy Commission to the incident this afternoon.

The system concerned is no longer in operation having been closed on 15 December 2017. Z has built a new Z Card online website that has been tested repeatedly to ensure customer data is secure.

Z has engaged an external provider to commence penetration testing across all of Z’s customer facing systems to immediately assess for any vulnerabilities.

Z also operates Caltex Star Card. The Star Card online system has very similar characteristics to that of the former ZCOL system. As a precaution, Z is taking this system down with immediate effect, until the company can be confident it does not exhibit the same vulnerabilities.

Z takes its data privacy responsibility and threats to cyber security very seriously and is taking steps to ensure that the company learns from this incident.

01/06/2018 - General News

No more plastic bags at Z

Z Energy service stations have stopped providing single-use plastic bags to customers from the start of June.

Z has taken this action in response to a groundswell of support from Kiwis for ending New Zealand’s dependency on plastic bags.

The move is part of Z’s commitment to environmental sustainability and will take the 2.5 million plastic bags that Z previously provided each year out of circulation.

Z’s Sustainability Manager, Gerri Ward, says ditching plastic bags completely is a simple way to reduce waste and pollution.

“Plastic bags are a major source of ocean and river pollution. They can take up to 1000 years to degrade and even then, they never disappear completely.

“Even worse, 10 per cent of all dead animals found in beach clean-ups are entangled in plastic bags, so knowing Z’s given out its last ever bag is a good feeling,” Gerri said.

Z is encouraging customers to bring their own reusable bags and won’t be replacing single use bags with an alternative because of concerns that some common replacements are also bad for the environment.

Gerri acknowledges the move may inconvenience some people, while they get used to the change.

“Most Z store customers buy only a few small items, so they’re well placed to make the shift to a more environmentally sustainable way of shopping.” Gerri said.

Getting rid of plastic bags is just the start for reducing waste, with New Zealand’s waste volume per capita being the second highest in the developed world.

“We know the country’s problem with plastic waste is far bigger than plastic bags. No longer providing plastic bags to customers is a good way to start attacking the problem and something many New Zealanders are keen to get on board with,” Gerri said.

Other measures Z has taken to reduce waste to landfill include:
  • Rolling out easier-to-use modular recycling bins at 120 Z forecourts so far, to separate recycling and prevent it being tainted and sent to landfill.
  • Introducing internationally certified, fully commercially compostable coffee cups and collection bins
  • Returning milk containers used for coffee to the supplier for re-use
  • Next on the agenda is removing plastic straws from Z service stations.

“Z has a long way to go, but small steps add up and we don’t intend to stop anytime soon,” Gerri said.

ENDS

For further information or interviews please contact Georgina Ball +64 (04) 498 0132

 

 

27/04/2018 - General News

Communities to decide how to split $1m funding

Customer voting in Z Energy’s annual nationwide community funding programme, Good in the Hood, kicks off on 1 May.

eDM banner

Good in the Hood gives over a million dollars every year to around 800 Kiwi groups doing good for people or the environment in the areas around the country’s 200-plus Z service stations.

Every Z service station has chosen four groups in their own neighbourhoods to support in 2018 and will share $4000 between them. Locals will determine what percentage of the funding goes to each group by voting with an orange token each time they shop at Z in May.

Z Community Manager, Gerri Ward, said the need each group is addressing will be labelled on the voting booths, so locals can clearly see the impact the funding will have.

“New Zealanders will help address needs in local neighbourhoods across the country, when they vote in Z Energy’s Good in the Hood this May.

“The needs identified by groups in 2018 range from reducing food waste and feeding the hungry, to reducing illegal rubbish dumping in our creeks, to providing emergency air services and saving local lives." 

Gerri says Good in the Hood gives the local service stations the choice of which groups to support, to help ensure that local needs are addressed.

“We reckon the people working and living in each area know best what change or help is most needed in their communities,” Gerri said.

On top of the $4000 in May, every Z service station has an additional $1,000 to use for discretionary Good in the Hood neighbourhood support in 2018.

Voting runs for the month of May. To find out more about Good in the Hood, visit www.z.co.nz/goodinthehood.

ENDS

For further information please contact Georgina Ball: +64 (0)4 498 0132 

12/03/2018 - General News

Port strike unlikely to impact Z customers

Z Energy says that despite the potential closure of Lyttelton Port, Z customers are unlikely to be impacted by fuel shortages during the currently defined period of industrial action.

The fuel industry, including Z, has been notified by Lyttelton Port Company that industrial action is planned at Lyttelton port, scheduled for 13-25 March inclusive.

This may result in the closure of Lyttelton Port during this time period, which will affect Z’s ability to receive fuel cargoes arriving in Lyttelton then. Consequently, Z has been putting measures in place to minimise the impact of any port closure.

Z’s General Manager of Supply and Distribution, David Binnie, said that Z was confident it could minimise the impact of the port closure on ground fuels for the planned strike period on the basis of normal demand.

“While this action is outside of our control, our customers are our priority and we are committed to minimising any fuel disruption or impact this action may have on their plans or on their business.

“Due to the scale of our supply and distribution business we have been able to investigate and implement a number of changes which give us confidence of being able to supply ground fuel reliably throughout the shut-down period currently outlined.

“We are also currently investigating options and contingency plans for any extended industrial action,” says David.

Some of these changes included organising additional fuel deliveries in advance of the potential strike action, re-commissioning a currently unused tank to provide additional storage in Lyttelton, and increasing fuel haulage from Z’s terminal in Timaru.

 

 

01/02/2018 - General News

Good in the Hood Applications Open

Groups doing good for people or the environment around New Zealand can now apply to be part of Z Energy’s 2018 Good in the Hood community fundraising program.

Applications open at the start of February and the 820 groups selected to participate at Z service stations will all get a piece of the $1 million in funding given away during Good in the Hood voting month in May.

GITH 2018 banner image

Each of Z’s 205 service stations will select four groups to support and have $4000 to donate. Customers then determine what percentage of the funding goes to each group by voting with an orange token every time they shop at Z during voting month.

Since 2012 more than $5 million of Good in the Hood funding has gone to community groups and projects helping the country’s neighbourhoods thrive.

Z’s Community Manager, Gerri Ward, says Z is hunting for groups addressing local needs in 2018.

“As a Kiwi company, we believe we have a responsibility to give back locally by supporting groups working hard for their communities.

“To ensure local needs get addressed, the teams on the ground at every Z site make the call on which groups to support, since they’re the ones who best know the needs of their neighbourhoods.

“Neighbourhood groups play an essential role in supporting the well-being of their communities and our teams can’t wait to read through the Good in the Hood applications and see all the good already happening,” Gerri said.

Every Z service station has an additional $1,000 of Good in the Hood funding to give away this year outside of voting month. Groups also benefit from increased exposure and the chance to interact with the community at their local Z during voting month.

Groups can apply online from 1-28 February at z.co.nz/goodinthehood

ENDS

For further information or interviews please contact Georgina Ball +64 (04) 498 0132

26/01/2018 - General News

Questions and answers on fuel supplied potentially causing fuel gauge accuracy issue

What has happened here?

Investigation is still ongoing at this time, however early indications are that one batch of 91 octane petrol and three batches of 95 octane petrol were released between the end of November and the middle of December, which we suspect contained higher than usual levels of “active” sulphur that could potentially affect a specific engine component in some types of vehicle. Diesel and 98 octane fuels are not affected.

The presence of this active sulphur species (or elemental sulphur) may be linked to a small number of complaints from motorists regarding the accuracy of their fuel gauges. This is because the sulphur species could affect a specific silver component in the engine of some automobiles, called a fuel sender card or fuel sender unit.

This means a small number of motorists may experience fuel gauges showing they have a quarter of a tank remaining when they are in fact out of fuel. However, not all vehicles will be affected.

While the vast majority of this fuel was supplied into the Auckland region, there may be isolated cases in neighbouring regions such as Northland and Waikato.

Why is there active sulphur in the fuel in the first place?

Crude oil and the resulting fuels (i.e. petrol, diesel, jet fuel) naturally contain sulphur, which is reduced during the manufacturing process to meet legislated, as well as voluntary industry requirements.  Every batch of petrol manufactured or imported into NZ is extensively tested to ensure it’s of the standard required in NZ. Industry is investigating how this elevated active sulphur level has occurred.

What is the difference between sulphur and "active sulphur"? 

Active sulphur refers to reactive sulphur compounds which may be an occasional by-product of removing other sulphur compounds from fuel, and which can, even if present in small traces, chemically react with the silver alloy used in the fuel sender units inside the fuel tank of certain vehicles.

Sulphur on the other hand, is naturally occurring in crude oil and bound in the chemical make-up of crude. High levels of sulphur burned in fuel has negative environmental and air quality consequences. In New Zealand, the legal limit for sulphur in petrol is a maximum of 50 parts per million (ppm). Australia has the same standard for 95 and 98 octane petrol, but a higher limit for 91 octane petrol where it is 150 ppm. From 1 July, this legal limit in New Zealand will lower to 10 ppm. Fuel sold by the industry meets the current legislated limit of 50ppm, including during the period of late November to mid-December when the fuel sender issues were first identified.

Total sulphur content of the fuel is not an indicator of reactivity of the sulphur compounds that could be in the fuel.  However the fuel industry uses specific tests for Copper Corrosion (ASTM D130) and Silver Corrosion (ASTM D7671) to identify if there are any reactive sulphur compounds in the fuel and, through specified limits for these corrosion tests, to prevent the release of batches where reactive sulphur compound are present in significant enough amounts to cause corrosion of the test strips.

Active sulphur is not bound to the molecular make up of petrol, which is why even a very small amount can react with alloys in some fuel sender units. However, the overall amount of sulphur, active or otherwise, is still well below the legislated limit, and in such small amounts, has no impact on a vehicle’s engine or performance, but can impact on silver alloys used in vehicle fuel sender units.

What is the required fuel specification for active sulphur?

There is no mandated level for active sulphur present in New Zealand fuel, though the fuel industry conducts testing designed to detect unacceptable levels of active sulphur species and prevent the release of batches that do not meet a specified limit. While initial certification testing did not detect any issues with product batches in the supply window of concern, subsequent investigative testing of samples retained at fuel storage terminals has indicated they exceeded the industry limit.

Why are you telling us this?

Independent test result data confirming levels of an active sulphur species exceeding the industry limit in RON 91 and RON 95 fuel grades was received just before the New Year.

This was made public as quickly as possible.

While the number of complaints has been very small, and so far limited to a few vehicle brands, we want to ensure our customers are aware of this issue and know who to contact if they have experienced problems with their fuel gauge as a result of filling up during this period.

Is this fuel still in the market?

This fuel will have been used up at service stations by now, and motorists should not be concerned with the fuel they are buying now. Additional testing has been conducted to give assurance of this.

What companies have been selling this fuel?

Almost every brand in the market could potentially have sold this fuel, except Gull which imports its own fuel.

Will there be any other impact on a vehicle?

No. And we stress the point: we don’t think this has or will have had any impact on the overwhelming majority of vehicles. There are approximately four million vehicles in New Zealand, this fuel was sold widely across almost all fuel retailing brands. As an indication of the scale of this issue, the fuel industry has received only a small number of complaints.

Are fuel sender problems commonly caused by an issue with the fuel?

No. To our knowledge, this has not happened in New Zealand before. It is unusual for it to be caused by an issue with the fuel.

How many complaints are you aware of and where / what vehicles?

Industry has so far received around 100 verified cases of this fuel potentially leading to inaccurate readings. These complaints have generally been from people who have filled up in the wider Auckland region.

So what are you doing about it?

We are continuing to investigate the cause of this issue, and to promptly assess any claims received from our customers. 

Where the symptoms being experienced in customer vehicles are verified as being related to the active sulphur, individual fuel companies are progressing these through their complaints resolution processes.

We do not expect these levels of active sulphur to present a problem for the vast majority of vehicles, as most motor vehicles have fuel sender units with a level of additional protection against such an occurrence.”

Fuel companies will assess any claims for the costs of repairs that are found to be a result of this issue.

So what should I do?

We encourage vehicle owners primarily in the Auckland area who have refuelled between approximately late November and the middle of December – particularly owners of Holden, Mazda and Toyota – who have concerns around the accuracy of their fuel gauge to ensure they maintain their gauges reading at above half full before having their fuel sender unit inspected by their local vehicle dealer or mechanic.

Customers should also contact the fuel company they purchased their fuel from with any queries or concerns. The relevant fuel company will assess any claims for the costs of repairs that are found to be a result of this issue.

Fuel company helpdesk numbers:

BP 0800 805 111

Caltex 0800 567 723

Mobil 0800 880 361

Z Energy 0800 567 723

 

30/12/2017 - General News

Fuel supplied may impact fuel gauge accuracy in small number of vehicles

Three of New Zealand’s major fuel companies today said they were investigating a potential fuel quality issue that may have affected a small volume of petrol supplied from late November to mid-December 2017.

The companies are investigating whether the issue may have contributed to inaccurate fuel gauge readings, particularly in Holden vehicles in the Auckland region with fuel purchased from Z Energy.

The three major fuel companies have tested petrol from the shared fuel storage tanks, with results indicating that there were elevated active sulphur levels in batches of 91 and 95 octane petrol supplied from late November to mid-December 2017.

It is important to note that the fuel sold met all regulated specifications, however fuel suppliers set a voluntary specification for active sulphur levels which was exceeded in these batches. The fuel companies in question are investigating the issue further, and recommend that customers with any concerns around the accuracy of their fuel gauge should ensure their gauges read above half, and get their vehicle checked by their local vehicle dealer.

Representing BP, Z and Mobil as major participants in the fuel industry and users of the shared supply chain assets, spokesperson Leigh Taylor said that customers should contact the company they purchased the fuel from with any issues or queries.

“Currently our understanding is that this has been limited to a relatively small group of customers with a specific vehicle type. If the current issues being experienced in these vehicles is shown to be connected to the fuel, we expect that at these low levels of active sulphur, and the small amount of fuel affected, the vast majority of vehicles will not be impacted at all.

“We do however encourage vehicle owners with concerns around their fuel gauge performance who have refuelled within the identified timeframe to immediately check with their vehicle manufacturer.

“If there are concerns – particularly if the gauge does not drop below a quarter full – please ensure the vehicle has plenty of fuel and get it checked.”

For any enquiries please contact Leigh Taylor: 021 715 986

Leigh Taylor is acting in capacity as spokesperson of users of the shared supply chain assets. BP is currently Chair company of customers of this group.

Fuel company helpdesk numbers:

BP 0800 805 111

Mobil 0800 880 361

Z Energy 0800 567 723

13/12/2017 - General News

Security of fuel supply review timely, welcomed

Z Energy today welcomed confirmation from the government that it would hold a study into fuel supply chain security and reliability in the new year.

“With the outage of the Refinery to Auckland Pipeline (RAP) in September, the government indicated this would be reviewed and we welcome the broadening of the study to encompass the reliable and secure operation of the fuel supply chain,” said Z General Manager of Corporate, Lindis Jones.

“One of the first conversations Z initiated with government when it bought this business in 2010 was around how the fuel supply chain relies on key pieces of infrastructure, such as the RAP.”

Here is Z’s submission on this matter to MBIE in 2012.

“New Zealand is isolated from major fuel markets; is a long, skinny country to supply with low population density; and it relies heavily on the safe and secure operation of key infrastructure.

“While this infrastructure has served New Zealand well for decades and has minimised supply chain costs, Z has expressed concerns about the lack of resilience in the fuel supply chain, which we are currently experiencing as the industry rebuilds fuel supply positions in the upper North Island.

“We look forward to fully participating in this inquiry.”

For enquiries please contact Georgina Ball: 04 498 0132

09/11/2017 - Sustainability news

Z gets behind NZ Recycling week with plastic bag ban

All Z service stations will be free of single use customer plastic bags by June 2018, as the company responds to a groundswell of support from Kiwis for eliminating New Zealand’s dependency on plastic bags.

According to a recent report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050 – the amount of plastic will literally outweigh fish. Worryingly, there’s also evidence that fish ingest plastic mistaking it for food, and the effect of this on human health is still unknown.

As part of Z’s commitment to environmental sustainability, Z has started encouraging less use of plastic bags, and from June 2018, will have no plastic bags available at sites at all.
Z’s Sustainability Manager, Gerri Ward, said that going plastic bag free was the right thing to do.

“We may be a fuel company, but we’re determined to be at the heart of the sustainability solution, and doing something simple like no longer having plastic bags available seems like another small but meaningful step towards a better future. We will take the two and a half million plastic bags we give out each year completely out of circulation.

“Plastic bags take around 1000 years to degrade, and even then they never disappear completely.

“Even worse, 10 per cent of all dead animals found in beach clean-ups are entangled in plastic bags,” says Gerri.

Plastic bags are not the only thing Z is taking action on. The company is in the process of rolling out new modular forecourt recycling bins at 115 Z sites.

“What we’ve found with the existing bins was that a lot of recycling was getting tainted and had to be thrown into landfill.

“The new modular forecourt bins separate out customers’ different recycling materials, and will better support customers to recycle,” says Gerri.

Gerri says that New Zealand’s waste volume per capita is the second highest in the developed world and more than double the average.

As part of the push to reduce waste to landfill, Z also introduced internationally certified compostable coffee cups late last year. This means that instead of 4.5 million coffee cups going to landfill each year, customers can now drop them in Z’s collection bins at Z Espress sites instead.

“Everything we’re doing is all about small steps adding up to giant strides. We have a long way to go, but we keep gaining momentum and we don’t intend to stop anytime soon,” says Gerri.

The real impact of plastic bags

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