Fuel customers of Refining New Zealand said they remained confident of maintaining ground fuel supplies into Auckland, supported by initiatives enabled by government.
Additionally, alternative jet fuel supply options and increased confidence in the Refining New Zealand pipeline repair timetable will see airline fuel allocations move from 30 per cent to 50 per cent at midnight tonight.
One week into the outage, Refining New Zealand remains committed to the pipeline being repaired and pumping again between Sunday 24 and Tuesday 26 September.
Andrew McNaught, representing the customers of the refinery, said the industry was making very good progress on a number of fronts to streamline supply of fuel into Auckland.
The industry is working to repurpose a former chemical tank at Wynyard Wharf to hold jet fuel. The industry coastal vessel, Matuku, is scheduled to arrive into Ports of Auckland on 23 September to discharge jet fuel and diesel into the Wynyard Wharf terminal.
If product quality and safety requirements can be met, having jet fuel available at Wynyard Wharf would help ease the pressure on fuel stocks at Wiri and provide an additional jet fuel supply point in Auckland City.
Today industry plans to truck the first loads of jet fuel to Auckland Airport from the new jet truck loading facility at Whangarei and, while the contribution to overall jet stocks will be limited, it represents another supply option to boost supplies of jet fuel into Auckland.
Additionally, through a reconfiguration of tanks and pipelines, an additional 300,000 litres of jet fuel storage at Christchurch Airport will come on stream tomorrow at 7am, further supporting airlines that are required to refuel in Christchurch.
Andrew McNaught said it was these factors combined which gave the industry sufficient confidence to increase airline allocations as of midnight tonight. He noted that while these allocations would increase further over time with a successful pipeline repair, they could also go backwards if the timeline was to slip.
“Increasing the allocations will be welcomed by airlines and, once again, the industry thanks our airline customers, and their customers in turn, for their patience and professionalism.”
Assuming the repair goes to plan, the next scheduled revision of the airline fuel allocations is for Monday.
While the Matuku heads towards Wynyard Wharf, the industry’s second coastal vessel, Kakariki, is on its way to Lyttelton, where it will be discharging jet fuel, as well as other fuel grades. Kakariki will be closely followed by import vessel Axios, also discharging diesel and jet fuel at Lyttelton. Immediately behind this is the import vessel Stena Paris, also discharging jet fuel and 98 unleaded fuel.
A one million litre diesel tank at Hutt City Terminal in Wellington has been converted to a jet fuel tank and will be filled by the Matuku on 26 September to support a number of other regional airports.
Jet fuel stocks at Wellington Airport remain healthy with the import vessel Axios due to arrive on September 25 to top up all tanks.
“The industry is doing all that it can to work together, and with the government to minimise any disruption,” said Andrew McNaught.
“Defence Force personnel are on the task to support the industry and this is a welcome contribution to the effort to maintain secure supplies into Auckland.
“Industry remains confident that it can maintain the supply of ground transport fuels into Auckland with minimal interruption.”
Andrew McNaught is the Manager of Mobil Oil New Zealand Limited and is the spokesperson representing the customers of Refining NZ.
For further enquiries, please contact Rob Fitzgerald, Mobil Public Affairs on +64 (0)2 7808 6029. From Friday 22 to Sunday 24 September, please contact Torben Akel, Mobil Public Affairs on +64 (0)2 1942 051.