22 Feb 2019

Marsden Point refinery operator's profit down 62 percent after lengthy shutdown

10:37 am on 22 February 2019

The lengthy shutdown of the Marsden Point oil refinery has knocked its operator's full year profit markedly lower.

Marsden Point oil refinery

Marsden Point oil refinery Photo: 123rf.com

Refining NZ has posted a net profit of $29.6 million, down 62 percent on the previous year.

For the first time in 14 years, the refinery was shut down for planned maintenance from April through June 2018, which was a longer period than expected.

Chief executive Mike Fuge said that was partly offset in the second half by healthy refining margins, a weakening exchange rate and a strong operational performance, with the underlying business remaining strong.

"While the (net profit) result was impacted by the planned maintenance shutdown in April-June the reliable running on processing units for the remainder of the year saw refinery throughput for the second half of 2018 at its highest ever, which allowed the company to capitalise on healthy refining margins," he said.

Mr Fuge said one positive to come out of the maintenance shutdown was the full refurbishment of the refinery's hydrogen manufacturing unit.

"As New Zealand's largest producer of pure hydrogen this refurbishment underpins the refinery's role in the fuels supply chain and presents the exciting possibility of developing further hydrogen infrastructure which is critical to our low carbon economy."

Another shutdown was planned for next year but the company said it would not be as major.

It expected 2019 would see it lift its operational performance further.

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