Energy Data File Highlights Petrol Price Trends Concern

  • Max Bradford

Petrol price trends in New Zealand remain a concern, Energy Minister Max Bradford said today when he released the latest edition of the Energy Data file prepared by the Ministry of Commerce.

"An analysis of petrol importer margins shows retail prices in New Zealand (exclusive of taxes) have been increasing by nearly one cent a year for the last few years relative to international prices," Mr Bradford said.

Mr Bradford said he remained concerned there was little price competition in the petrol market.

"Consultants are currently completing a study to identify barriers to entry to the New Zealand petrol market. The report, when released, will be a useful fund of information to potential market entrants."

Mr Bradford said both he and consumers would be pleased to see a new supplier.

"I would encourage companies to look at the New Zealand petrol market. The signs are there is money to be made."

The Energy Data File includes extensive energy supply and demand data for New Zealand, providing valuable information for the efficient functioning of the energy market.

"Comparing electricity prices with Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, UK and USA shows Canada had the lowest electricity prices in the fourth quarter of 1996, closely followed by New Zealand and the USA," Mr Bradford said.

"Electricity prices in the UK, Germany and Japan were much higher, with those in Japan being three to four times New Zealand's prices."

Other noteworthy statistics for the year to March 1997 compared to the same period a year earlier include:

electricity generation, including cogeneration, rose by1.2 per cent to 130 PJ (or 35,976 Gwh) as a 13 per cent fall in hydro generation was matched by increases in output from coal and gas fired stations;

total New Zealand production of crude oil and condensate was up 55 per cent to 107 PJ. This was the highest production recorded for New Zealand, surpassing the previous 1994 peak, due to increases in production at the Maui, Ngatoro, Kaimiro and Kapuni fields, and new production at the Tariki/Ahuroa field. Imports fell and exports rose as refinery intake was steady;

domestic production of oil products fell slightly to 201 PJ, while imports of oil products were up 44 per cent to 66 PJ (due to rises in petrol, diesel and aviation fuel imports);

total consumption of oil products (excluding international transport) rose by 2 per cent to 214 PJ;

total gas production increased by 20 per cent to 216 PJ as demand from gas fired electricity power stations rose 64 per cent and industrial gas consumption was up 10 per cent;

coal production was up 16 per cent as exports increased by one third to 54 PJ.
Mr Bradford welcomed the launch of the Internet version of the Energy Data File.

"Electronic access will make the data more widely available and benefit anyone interested in the New Zealand energy sector."