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Cleaner fuels to be produced locally

Cleaner fuels to be produced locally

The Board of The New Zealand Refining Company (NZRC) today approved a $180 million upgrade of the Marsden Point refinery to enable it to produce cleaner fuels.

The project – called Future Fuels – is necessary if the refinery is to meet the Government’s new fuel specifications regulations, which become effective in 2006. NZRC Chairman, Ian Farrant, said today’s decision enabled a long term future for the refinery in New Zealand.

“This is great news for all our stakeholders – our staff, the local community, our customers, our shareholders and the New Zealand public.

“The refinery currently supplies over 80 percent of New Zealand’s refined oil – around 70 percent of New Zealand’s petrol and over 90 percent of our diesel and jet fuel requirement.

“Maintaining this capability in New Zealand is very significant,” Mr Farrant said. Mr Farrant said reaching a Negotiated Greenhouse Agreement (NGA) with the Crown was an important factor in allowing this project to proceed.

The NGA will exempt NZRC from the planned emissions charge, as long as competing refineries in the region are not exposed to the same cost. In return, NZRC has committed to be on a pathway towards world best practice in emissions management.

“NZRC greatly appreciates the positive approach and resources the Government brought to its work with our company to establish the NGA.

“Although the commitments set for NZRC under the NGA will be a demanding goal, we are committed to striving for world best practice.

“The Marsden Point refinery is already in the top 25 percent of refineries world wide, in terms of energy efficiency. The Future Fuels project will maintain – and improve – our standing, through utilisation of the world’s best technology, construction and engineering.”

Mr Farrant said the Future Fuels project was NZRC’s biggest investment since the mid-1980s.

“We have not taken this decision lightly. Extensive investigation and assessment has taken place to allow the Board to be certain this decision provided the best outcome for our shareholders.

“I’d like to thank the team that worked on Future Fuels, and on the NGA with the Government, for their hard work over the past year.”

The refinery upgrade will be complete in 2005, in time for the introduction of the new fuel specifications on 1 January 2006. q

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