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Burst NZ pipe causes fuel shortage

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has been enlisted to move fuel around the country after a burst oil pipeline caused a jet fuel shortage.

The Refinery to Auckland Pipeline (RAP), operated by Refining NZ, suffered a leak on Sunday 17 September, 8 km south of its refinery at Ruakaka.

The company expected repairs to take less than two days by installing a clamp on the damaged section; however, closer inspection after excavating the pipeline showed the damaged section needed to be replaced.

After the repairs, the RAP will be run at a reduced (70 – 80 per cent) capacity for an initial period.

“All going to plan, we expect to deliver jet fuel via the pipeline into Wiri between midday Sunday (24 September) and midday Tuesday (26 September),” said Refining NZ CEO Sjoerd Post.

“From that point Refining NZ expects it will take another 30 hours for the jet fuel to settle, for recertification to be obtained, and to transport to Auckland international airport.”

To help with the fuel shortage, the NZDF will supply a naval tanker to move diesel fuel from a refinery at Marsden Point, 140 km from Auckland, to other parts of the country.

The NZDF will also provide 20 more tanker drivers, as well as cancelling a military exercise with Singapore and look into options for commercial aircraft to refuel at military bases.

Refining NZ said early identification and containment minimised the environmental impact of the leak and that it has maintained contact with the local community to keep residents updated on the progress of repairs.

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