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Govt to conduct inquiry into September fuel pipeline outage

Article – BusinessDesk

Dec. 13 (BusinessDesk) – The government will hold an independent inquiry into the September outage of the fuel pipeline from Marsden Point refinery to Auckland, says Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods.Government to conduct inquiry into September fuel pipeline outage

By Rebecca Howard

Dec. 13 (BusinessDesk) – The government will hold an independent inquiry into the September outage of the fuel pipeline from Marsden Point refinery to Auckland, says Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods.

The 170-km pipeline, which supplies petrol, diesel and jet fuel from the refinery to the Wiri Oil Terminal in South Auckland, was shut down for 10 days following a leak discovered in mid-September. The pipeline supplies about 95 percent of Auckland’s total fuel demand, including all of Auckland International Airport’s jet fuel demand. The damage disrupted fuel supply, prompting a joint industry and government response. Both the pipeline and the refinery are operated by New Zealand Refining.

“The outage showed how vulnerable this key piece of infrastructure is and how important it is to build more resilience in the system,” Woods said in a statement. “We need to get to the bottom of exactly what went wrong in September and how we can help prevent this sort of thing from happening again.”

The terms of reference will be finalised early next year and independent inquirers appointed, she said.

Woods said the inquiry will not only investigate the immediate causes of the outage but also the maintenance and operation practices at the pipeline and if they are fit for purpose.

“We will also look at how we can make our fuel supply more secure in the future – investigating options for improving resilience,” she said.

Officials will also look at short-term options to improve resilience and ensure all parties involved have effective response plans in place to enable them to respond quickly in the event of any potential future outages, she said.

The pipe was shut down temporarily on Sunday over fears of a leak, which were later discovered to be unfounded.

NZ Refining shares last traded at $2.50 and have declined 3.9 percent so far this year.

(BusinessDesk)

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