Refining NZ floats plan for larger crude shipments into Marsden Point

New Zealand Refining Co. Ltd. (Refining NZ) is seeking public consultation on a proposed project to bring in bigger cargoes of crude oil to its 107,000-b/d refinery at Northland, in Marsden Point, New Zealand, near Whangarei.

New Zealand Refining Co. Ltd. (Refining NZ) is seeking public consultation on a proposed project to bring in bigger cargoes of crude oil to its 107,000-b/d refinery at Northland, in Marsden Point, New Zealand, near Whangarei.

A detailed overview of the project will be available in and around Whangarei from Mar. 25 with refinery staff on hand to answer questions and receive public feedback, which will be followed by more formal information days from Apr. 7-8, where interested parties will be able to speak with independent experts about a series of in-depth studies related to the proposal, Refining NZ said.

This second round of public consultation follows the first round of broader consultation in March 2015, the feedback from which has continued to shape Refining NZ’s evaluation of and approach to the project, the refiner said.

Under its current proposal, Refining NZ is seeking to accommodate deliveries of larger crude cargoes into Marsden Point by deepening the shipping channel at the entrance to Whangarei Harbor and around the refinery jetties and turning basin (where ships turn as they depart) via dredging, as well as straightening the channel’s current S-shaped bend through a channel realignment.

While Aframax oil tankers (700,000 bbl) deliver the majority of crude feedstock to the refinery, larger Suezmax tankers (1 million bbl) that occasionally carry crude to Marsden Point can do so only partially loaded because the shipping channel is not deep enough to allow the Suezmax tankers to carry in full-capacity shipments.

Since Suezmax vessels already visit the refinery, the planned project would reduce the number of frequency of crude tankers entering the harbor since crude deliveries would be arriving in larger-sized parcels, Refining NZ said.

Should the project advance, up to half of the refinery’s delivered crude shipments (about 20 million bbl/year) would arrive on ships carrying 1 million bbl at a time vs. current ship deliveries of 500,000-700,000 bbl), helping to improve Refining NZ’s freight economics, and, as a result, its ability to compete with imported fuels (OGJ Online, Oct. 25, 2016).

A definitive timeline for the project, however, has yet to be confirmed.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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