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There’s Natural Gas, And There’s LPG

30 April 2004

There’s Natural Gas, And There’s Lpg

The Minister of Energy, Pete Hodgson needs to be careful not to leave the impression that there are supply problems with all forms of gas, says Owen Poole, President of the New Zealand LPG Association, reflecting on the Minister’s address on Wednesday to the “Energy in New Zealand” conference in Auckland.

“The energy debate, which has heated up since the termination of Project Aqua, has seen much attention focused on building security of energy supply with gas as the preferred source for base load generation. However, gas which is used extensively for residential and commercial supply throughout the country, particularly in the South Island where it takes the form of LPG, has been virtually ignored. LP Gas supply is strong, reliable and price competitive as the users in these areas well know”, says Mr Poole.

“The Minister is quite right when he makes the point that there is now an active energy market in New Zealand, as a result of which the residential and commercial market for LP Gas has grown by 50% in the last five years with demand in the residential sector skyrocketing.

“Consumers are discriminating. LP Gas is cheaper than electricity as an energy source. It offers a ‘comfort and warmth’ factor, is convenient and portable and it is environmentally friendly with minimal residues being released into the atmosphere.

“The great advantage of an energy market, despite some of its shortcomings in a small country, is that consumers are able to make choices in terms of their own needs. Many people like the level of control that LP Gas allows them to have over their energy requirements and security of supply”, says Mr Poole.

Maui is only one source of supply for LP Gas in New Zealand. LP Gas is a very portable commodity such that any shortfalls anticipated in Maui can be offset by importation from anywhere in the world. In recent times supply in New Zealand has been augmented by LP Gas imported from Australia.

“There are sizeable local gas fields such as Pohokura and Kupe, that are earmarked for the supply of LP Gas. Enhancements to existing local gas fields, Waihapa and Kapuni, are currently underway. Together these developments will strengthen and secure local supplies of LP Gas for New Zealand’s future domestic and commercial needs.

“Our energy supply future is inevitably going to become diversified. The requirements of energy have to be balanced against each other including thermal value, infrastructure and environmental considerations. Most importantly energy has to be as cheap as possible so that it doesn’t drive up costs in the economy. LP Gas has a vital niche role to play and it is important that energy planners, including the Minister, do not lose sight of it”, says Mr Poole.


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