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Refining NZ’s Te Mahi Hou project goes live

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Refining NZ, the owner and operator of New Zealand’s only refinery at Marsden Point, has successfully started the refinery’s continuous catalyst regeneration (CCR) unit as part of the NZ$365 million Te Mahi Hou project. Te Mahi Hou is producing ‘on specification’ petrol three weeks earlier than initially scheduled. As a consequence of the early project completion, the previous platformer (petrol manufacturing) unit it has replaced has been shut down after 50 years.

Describing the Te Mahi Hou as a major investment in critical energy infrastructure, Chief Executive, Sjoerd Post, said that production of ‘on specification’ fuel was a significant moment. “This is a major milestone for Te Mahi Hou, and follows four years of hard work - designing, planning, scheduling and construction – all of which has contributed greatly to Northland as well as the New Zealand economy. There is still more to do in the coming weeks to bed the project into the refinery but for now, everyone involved can be justifiably proud of getting Te Mahi Hou to this major milestone,” Post said.

Te Mahi Hou Project Director, David Cunningham, put the successful early start down to a focused, highly professional project team. “We’ve used our own major project know how from recent expansions to coordinate engineering design across three locations, secure critical components and bulk materials from across the globe and ‘package’ them at Marsden Point with the help of a network of contracting companies. By concentrating on getting the details right we’ve had a world class delivery at every milestone over the past four years. Our sole focus in the coming weeks is to get Te Mahi Hou safely integrated into the refinery”, Cunningham said.

Te Mahi Hou is expected to have multiple benefits for the company, shareholders and New Zealand. It’s expected to push petrol production by two million bbls to around 13 million bbl/y. This will increase the refinery’s share of the country’s petrol demand from around 55 - 65%. Its hoping to reduce CO2 emissions by around 120 000 tpy through improving efficiency on the refinery’s processing units. In the current, volatile low crude price environment, the project is expected to deliver an expected structural uplift in the Company’s gross refinery margin (GRM) of around NZ$0.85 - 0.90/bbl. Te Mahi Hou is planned to increase the refinery’s operating cash flows by around NZ$50 - $55 million/y.

Post said, “Te Mahi Hou is key to the growth of our refining business. When it’s bedded in Te Mahi Hou it will be a valuable revenue generator that will help ensure we remain competitive with Asia Pacific refiners.”

Adapted from press release by Francesca Brindle

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