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Refining NZ eyes low-carbon opportunities

Refining NZ eyes low-carbon opportunities


By Gavin Evans

Nov. 16 (BusinessDesk) - Refining NZ says it is reviewing its activities and potential opportunities to improve shareholder returns in the medium and long term.

The operator of the Marsden Point oil refinery says the “Refine its Future” review will look at ways the company may be able to use its core competencies to participate in the move over time to carbon-neutral transport fuels, including electric vehicles, hydrogen and biofuels.

“The potential opportunities, including adjacencies, will be further explored over the coming months,” the company said in a statement to the NZX. “An update on the insights arising from the review, including details of the longer term strategy, will be provided to the market in due course.”

The company’s shares rose 0.8 percent to $2.39, trimming their loss so far this year to about 10 percent.

Marsden Point is the country’s sole oil refinery and recently upgraded its hydrogen-making capability.

In August, former chief executive Sjoerd Post said hydrogen was likely to play an increasing role in low-carbon transport through things like biofuels, long-distance trucking and aviation, and the company could already make more than it needs.

Post said the company had also looked conceptually at whether it could use solar at Marsden Point to also make electricity and hydrogen and help reduce the carbon footprint of its operations.

Mike Fuge, former chief executive of Melbourne-based renewable energy developer Pacific Hydro, replaced Post in September.

The company, which increased its use of natural gas capacity the past three years to improve margins, said its ability to use alternative fuels should protect it from any “material” impact from unplanned field outages which have recently tightened gas supplies.

Marsden Point produces about 70 percent of the petrol, diesel and jet fuel used here. It is 43 percent-owned by Z Energy, BP and Mobil, and charges those customers processing fees based on refining margins in Singapore.

The company said it achieved an average gross refining margin of US$7.09 a barrel in September and October, 3 percent higher than in the preceding two months, but down from US$9.31 a year earlier.

Throughput rose to 7.64 million barrels of crude, from 7.62 million in July and August and 6.82 million a year earlier. Refining fees climbed to $57.8 million, from $54.3 million in the preceding two months, but down from $62.2 million a year earlier.

(BusinessDesk)

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