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Govt pursues open access to Maui pipeline

Govt pursues open access to Maui pipeline

The Government today announced that it will facilitate the negotiation of open access arrangements to the Maui pipeline. The Maui contracts, which expire in 2009, only allow Maui gas to use the Maui pipeline. "Open access has a critical role to play in promoting the efficient delivery of gas, especially for electricity generation," said Energy Minister Pete Hodgson. “The Government is setting the scene for the parties to the Maui contract to achieve open access in time to allow gas to continue flowing to northern markets.

“The gas industry has indicated that sooner or later non-Maui gas will need to use the Maui pipeline. If that does not happen, there might not be enough gas transport capacity north of Taranaki to meet the demand for electricity generation, creating a risk of higher prices and electricity shortages.”

The Government, as a party to the Maui contracts, has invited Maui Development Ltd, the Natural Gas Corporation, Contact Energy and Methanex to present it with a proposal providing for open access to the Maui pipeline consistent with the following approach: the Government does not seek to improve its current commercial position as a result of a move to open access; the Government seeks to maintain the value of its existing contractual rights; the Government will not accept any increase in the risk it faces as a party to the Maui contracts as a result of the move to open access; and the open access arrangements need to provide non-discriminatory access to all potential users and not be biased towards those with an existing contractual interest in the Maui pipeline.

"The government has clearly indicated that it is not seeking to maximise its commercial advantage," said Finance Minister Michael Cullen.

"We have set out our commercial position so that other parties are clear on the basis for moving forward. It is now up to the other parties to propose arrangements that promote efficient and secure energy markets and are consistent with the Government's position."

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