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Refinery will be dismantled before petition reported

15 March 2022

by Chris Leitch, Leader

The Marsden Point oil refinery will likely be dismantled before Parliament’s Petitions Committee tables its report on an 18,300 signature petition calling for the refinery to remain operational.

The petition was presented to Parliament by Dr Shane Reti on December 8th on behalf of Social Credit who initiated it, yet the committee only considered it last week - 13 weeks later.

In a letter sent yesterday to committee chairperson, National’s Jacqui Dean, Social Credit leader Chris Leitch says “Last week the refinery received its final shipment of crude oil from overseas. When that has been processed the closure of the refinery will begin. That will be in just 18 days time”.

The committee has now requested further information, from presumably government departments and industry players, all of whom have already provided much input that formed the basis of a cabinet paper presented by Minister of Energy Megan Woods to cabinet last September.

“That process means the final report is unlikely to be tabled in Parliament before the middle of June at the very earliest and likely much later than that”, Mr Leitch wrote.

“By that time the refinery will be completely shut down and dismantling of it may well have commenced”.

“Should your committee report to Parliament a recommendation in favour of the petition it will then be a wasted effort on the part of approximately 18,300 New Zealanders to get their voice is heard on this vitally important energy security matter”.

 “The continued operation of the refinery has become even more critical given the spike in fuel prices as a result of the Russia - Ukraine conflict”.

“There is a very real likelihood of worldwide crude oil and refined product shortages as countries like the United States and those in Europe scramble to replace the Russian oil they will no longer import as a result of sanctions on Russia and try to secure alternative sources”.

“It seems incomprehensible that the committee has not treated this matter with a great deal more urgency”.

Sadly it appears that despite having significant stocks of crude oil in Taranaki, should international fuel supplies be disrupted, New Zealand will not have the capacity to process its own oil to keep essential services running.