Fuel pipeline disruption not expected to affect motorists

Monday, September 18, 2017

While a leaking fuel pipeline supplying jet fuel to Auckland Airport has caused widespread disruption to flights, it is unlikely motorists will be affected.

The leak was discovered in a section of the pipeline running between the refinery and the storage depot at Wiri, and work is underway to repair it.

Z Energy said it was managing available fuel supplies following notification that Refining NZ’s Refinery to Auckland pipeline (RAP) had been closed to fix a leak.

Refining NZ informed Z of the leak in the 170-kilometre-long pipeline on Thursday afternoon. The location of the leak was located close to the refinery and the pipeline has been shut down to enable repairs.

Z said the impact of the pipeline outage on fuel supplies would depend on how quickly it could be fixed and it was liaising with Refining NZ on a daily basis on this point.

The company said there would be disruption to jet fuel supplies at Auckland Airport, where airline customers are already on fuel allocations. This will require airlines to bunker fuel and refuel at other domestic and international locations.

Z said nationally fuel supplies were healthy and transport fuels were being transported to Auckland from both Mount Maunganui and Whangarei terminals. The refinery is still operating, meaning fuel is still being produced and shipped around the country, supplemented by fuel imports as per usual.

Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins has spoken to Refining NZ and the heads of fuel companies affected by the disruption to the Marsden Point pipeline to Auckland and offered Government support if it is required.

“Refining NZ is doing all it can to repair the pipeline and industry is working to minimise any inconvenience to customers and the public.”

Collins says Refining NZ has all the expert technical assistance resources it needs, including international expertise, and Government assistance is available if needed.

“There are fuel stocks on hand in Auckland and additional stocks of petrol and diesel are being trucked in directly from the refinery, and from the terminal in Mt Maunganui. The fuel companies are confident that supply of these fuels will be maintained and it is unlikely that motorists will be inconvenienced.”

Collins says the pipeline is the only source of jet fuel for Auckland Airport, so precautions, including some flight cancellations, have been taken to restrict the amount of fuel being used.