Refining NZ is talking to customers about converting New Zealand’s sole refinery, the 135,000 b/d Marsden Point, into an import terminal.

Chief Executive Naomi James said it is evaluating the possible staged transition to an import terminal in consultation with its customers and the New Zealand Government. She said: “Simplification of our refinery creates the time and optionality to continue refining operations in the near-term while we assess the potential option to transition to an import terminal in the future.”

Refining NZ plans to return Marsden Point to low production levels this month after a six-week shutdown in an effort to balance the fuel market in New Zealand, where demand has been hit by COVID-19 travel restrictions.

It said gasoline and diesel demand have largely recovered to pre-coronavirus levels but jet fuel demand remains weak, at around 40% below year-earlier levels, and is expected to remain low for the rest of this year.

The other option under consideration is for the refinery to improve its existing business model. The firm outlined four possible options when it announced a strategic review earlier this year but narrowed this to two in June. The strategic review is scheduled to be completed by the end of next month.

All major maintenance was suspended as part of the company’s response to COVID-19. A turnaround at the refinery’s main crude distillation unit and gasoline-producing unit is scheduled for March 2021.

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19th August 2020