Government to conduct inquiry into fuel pipe outage

The coalition Government will conduct a wide-ranging inquiry into making New Zealand’s fuel supply more secure following the September outage of the Marsden Refinery to Auckland fuel pipeline, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced.

The Refinery to Auckland Pipeline, which supplies petrol, diesel and jet fuel from the Marsden Point Refinery to the Wiri Oil Terminal in South Auckland, was shut down for 10 days following a leak discovered on 14 September 2017.

”We need to ensure our fuel supply system is resilient and reliable when people need it. The inquiry will help us do that.

“The inquiry will investigate not only the immediate causes of the outage, but also the maintenance and operation practices at the pipeline and if they are fit for purpose.

“We will also look at how we can make our fuel supply more secure in the future – investigating options for improving resilience.

“While this work is undertaken we’ve also instructed officials to investigate short term ways to improve resilience, as well as to ensure all parties involved have effective response plans in place to enable them to respond quickly in the event of any potential future outages.

“The Refinery to Auckland Pipeline is a critical piece of infrastructure for our country. It carries the majority of Auckland’s total fuel demand, including for Auckland Airport, and is essential to keeping Kiwis moving. The outage showed how vulnerable this key piece of infrastructure is and how important it is to build more resilience in the system.

“We need to get to the bottom of exactly what went wrong in September and how we can help prevent this sort of thing from happening again. This is about making sure important assets like this are protected in the future.

“We will conduct a Government inquiry into this outage, under the Inquiries Act 2013. An independent Government inquiry is appropriate given the public importance of fuel supply resilience, and to ensure access to relevant information by requiring the production of evidence.

“Early in the New Year we will finalise the terms of reference for the inquiry and we will be appointing independent inquirers.

“We’re taking action so that Kiwis can have confidence their infrastructure will be there for them when they need it,” says Megan Woods.