6 Aug 2021

Refining NZ shareholders vote to switch Marsden Point to import-only terminal

2:35 pm on 6 August 2021

Refining NZ shareholders have voted overwhelmingly to switch Marsden Point to an import-only fuel terminal from mid next year, signalling the loss of hundreds of jobs at Marsden Point.

Tanker unloading at Marsden Point Oil Refinery in 2013.

Tanker unloading at Marsden Point Oil Refinery in 2013. Photo: Rafael Ben-Ari/Chameleons Eye/ 123RF

The change will mean the Marsden Point operation will no longer process crude oil, and all of the country's fuel and petrol supplies will be imported from Asia.

The number of employees at the site is expected to drop from 300 to 60 over the next couple of years, with hundreds of contracting jobs also likely to be cut.

Speaking to shareholders at a meeting in Auckland today, Refining NZ Chief executive Naomi James said there was no reason to believe the move would make the country more vulnerable to fuel insecurity.

New Zealand could source fuel from a range of refineries in a range of countries, she said.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) earlier said it was preparing advice for the energy minister on the implications of the decision, although the advice it had received suggested the move to an import terminal was not a major risk to fuel security.

One option would be to require fuel companies to hold a minimum level of oil reserves.

"There is not a strong economic case to hold onshore reserve stocks beyond the current stock level, but there may be other reasons to consider this, for example the management of international supply chain risks," the MBIE statement said.