NZ Refining says pipeline leak to hit revenue by up to $15m

Ashley Carr
September 19, 2017

All supplies of jet fuel to Auckland Airport, the largest and busiest worldwide hub in New Zealand, have been cut following damage to a pipeline from the airport's sole supplier of fuel.

The shutdown of New Zealand Refining Company Ltd's pipeline has disrupted the plans of all airlines operating in and out of New Zealand's busiest airport, the airline said in a market filing.

Seven Air New Zealand flights have been cancelled for Monday.

Z Energy today said its airline customers are already on fuel allocations, which will mean they have to bunker fuel and refuel at other domestic and global locations.

Virgin's trans-Tasman services departing Auckland and diverting to Wellington Airport or Christchurch Airport, causing delays of up to two hours for flights departing Australia.

Marsden Point owner Refining NZ spokesman Greg McNeill told the New Zealand Herald the issue began on Thursday, when a leak was spotted in the pipeline that supplies aviation fuel from Marsden Point to Wiri, near the airport.

Chief executive Adrian Littlewood said the airport was working with airlines to monitor the impact of the disruption, with a focus on assisting passengers.

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In addition to the cancellations, some long-haul services to and from Asia and North America will undertake refueling stops at selected Pacific or Australian airports.

"Early identification and containment has minimised the environmental impact of the leak", the company said in a statement.

Air New Zealand has cancelled NZ719, which departs Sydney for Auckland at 1pm, and NZ718, which makes the return journey at 3.50pm.

"The company expected that the fix could be effected within two days by installing a clamp on the damaged section of the pipe", it said in a statement.

Even after the repairs are complete, Refining New Zealand said the pipeline would initially operate at 70-80 per cent of full capacity. Contaminated soil had been taken to refinery for treatment.

The New Zealand government, which faces an election on Saturday, came under pressure to intervene amid concerns of a shortage of motor fuel.

Z Energy said that nationally, fuel supplies were healthy.

Other reports by My Hot News

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