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Weather dictates gas supplies to Hawke's Bay

Weather will dictate resumption of natural gas supplies to Hawke's Bay

It's too early for optimism regarding reinstatement of gas supplies to northern Tararua and Hawkes Bay, according to Trevor Goodwin, Chairman of the Gas Association.

"While NGC staff and contractors are making phenomenal efforts to assess the extent of damage to the natural gas pipeline and re-pressurise it, we are still at the mercy of the weather," he said.

"The approaching fronts are of considerable concern as we have no idea at this stage whether further downpours will cause the current situation to deteriorate."

"We will not be in a position to make confident predictions about when gas will begin to flow until after tonight's weather has cleared," he said.

If efforts to restore supply through the existing pipeline fail, then it will necessary to wait for the completion of the temporary river crossing currently being constructed. That work will not be completed until at least the end of next week, subject to weather conditions and river levels.

In the meantime, the Gas Industry is urging those who still have supply to continue to make energetic efforts to save gas.

Trevor Goodwin said, "while it looks like we've got around a fortnight's gas still in the pipeline for essential services and domestic use, there are very real concerns that if natural gas consumption increases these reserves could run out.

"If the gas does run out, restarting the supply of natural gas would be an enormous problem.

"All gas connections would need to be turned off, the gas pipeline pressure tested for integrity, re-pressurised, physically turned on again and then have their installations tested.

"This is an enormous task, and hugely expensive in terms of both time and technical people resources - taking many days to complete.

"It is therefore critical that savings are made now, to ensure that resumption of the gas supply can be made in the shortest possible time," Trevor Goodwin said.

Updates on the natural gas emergency are available on 0800 50 700.

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