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Possible LNG site about preserving future options

4 October 2006

Possible LNG site about preserving future options

Genesis Energy and Contact Energy Limited today said the selection of Port Taranaki as the preferred site for a LNG import terminal, was all about preserving future options.

Contact Chief Executive David Baldwin and Genesis Energy Chief Executive Murray Jackson said while the resource consent process would soon be started for a possible LNG import terminal at the Port Taranaki site, the move was all about enhancing options.

The two companies have created a new joint venture company called Gasbridge, which will run a community consultation process on the proposal and manage the resource consenting process.

“Both Contact and Genesis Energy have a strong preference to use domestic natural gas,” said Contact Energy Chief Executive, David Baldwin.

“This announcement of a potential site for an import terminal is all about preserving future options. It is simply prudent commercial risk management."

Murray Jackson said Port Taranaki had been selected as a preferred site because of the region’s world-class experience in handling natural gas and hydrocarbons, its deep water port and its natural gas distribution infrastructure.

“New Plymouth is regarded as New Zealand’s energy capital for a very good reason.

The residents understand energy and the importance of New Plymouth as a national energy hub to both the local and national economy,” he said.

Mr Jackson said in the event of a future natural gas shortage, the LNG option could provide New Zealand with a secure and safe supply of natural gas until new domestic discoveries were made and bought to market.

“While this announcement is simply about developing a future option, it is important that residents understand the proposal – in particular that LNG is safe and that any future import terminal would meet very high international safety standards,” said Mr Jackson.

The proposed terminal would involve a new purpose-built berth at the end of the main breakwater inside the Port of Taranaki, with the LNG being piped along adjacent to the breakwater and stored in a new tank at Contact’s New Plymouth Power Station. The appropriate access and land agreements have been reached with Port Taranaki and the Power Station.

A Gasbridge website (www.gasbridge.co.nz) has been launched explaining LNG, along with computer generated images of how a new LNG terminal might look and a facility for people to ask questions and have them answered on-line.

A free information phone line has been set up to answer any questions from the public on 0800 GAS LNG (427 564).

“We urge residents to have a good look at the Gasbridge website and the information displays. These resources should answer most common questions,” said Mr Jackson.

ENDS

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