About Z

Z Energy responds to court case brought by Rena salvors

18/06/2012 - General News

Jonathan Hill

Z Energy today said it was misguided for Z to have been named in proceedings brought by Svitzer Salvage BV over the level of compensation paid for the use of the marine oil tanker, Awanuia, in the Rena recovery effort.

The Awanuia is a dedicated marine fuel tanker owned by Seafuels Limited, and chartered by Z Energy to take fuel oil from the Marsden Point refinery to supply ships in Auckland harbour. In early October 2011 Z Energy agreed to release the Awanuia from its normal charter for two months, enabling the vessel to safely remove 1,300 tonnes of marine fuel oil off the Rena and thereby preventing a much worse environmental catastrophe.

Z Energy has now been named in proceedings brought by Svitzer Salvage BV (the salvors), which seek to reopen the contracted amounts agreed to be paid by it to Seafuels for the charter of the Awanuia.

Z Energy General Counsel, Meredith Ussher, said Z was disappointed to be brought into legal proceedings that were essentially between Svitzer and Seafuels, the owner of the Awanuia.

“We were pleased to be able to release the Awanuia from our charter so its owner could deploy it in Tauranga. We negotiated payments from Seafuels to Z that covered our costs incurred in making alternative supply arrangements for our customers.

“The contractual arrangements between Svitzer and Seafuels were separately negotiated between them, and Z quite rightly had no visibility of the costs, charges or other arrangements between these two parties.

“We seem to have been caught up in a dispute that doesn’t involve us. Svitzer is seeking reimbursement of the payments it has made to charter the Awanuia, and Svitzer only made those payments to Seafuels.”

Z separately negotiated the purchase of the oil removed from the Rena directly with the vessel’s owners, an arrangement which was entirely separate from the contractual discussions between the salvors and Seafuels. The Rena oil was reprocessed at the Marsden Point refinery, thus avoiding other means of disposal (which possibly could have involved dumping in a landfill in Tauranga).

“We can’t presume why we are named in these proceedings other than in error. We’re proud of the contribution we’ve made to the Rena recovery and the way we have gone about it.

“Z Energy has applied to be removed as a party to the litigation, and believes it is up to the other parties to sort out their own commercial dispute,” said Ms Ussher.