Refining NZ is holding public information sessions next week about the Company’s proposal to bring bigger cargoes of crude oil to Marsden Point.
The proposal could see up to half of all crude oil (around 20 million barrels a year) transported on ships carrying around a million barrels at a time, a move that could mean fewer crude ships at Marsden Point and require some dredging to allow for heavier cargoes. Currently crude oil cargoes arriving at the refinery are typically 600-700,000 barrels in size.
CEO Sjoerd Post said the proposal is in its early stages, with the refinery focused first on engaging Tangata Whenua, local residents and key stakeholders on the high-level details before embarking on a series of technical studies and broader consultation.
“Our high-level engagements have already garnered initial reactions and questions on dredging, particularly about where and how deep this may be, and what will happen to the dredged material. A key point in early discussions has been the fact that these ships currently come into Marsden Point, but are under loaded.”
The information sessions on the 9th and 10th of March are the first in a series planned by the refinery, and will give the public the opportunity to speak with the independent consultants engaged to study the harbour and any potential impacts of dredging. Currently there are five key areas to be studied: – hydrology; geomorphology; ecology; marine mammals; and recreation.
“Given Whangarei harbour is heavily used for recreation and holds special cultural value for the hapu and iwi, it’s vital that we test this proposal with different groups, and use the feedback from public sessions to inform the independent studies we plan to carry out, ” Post said.
“We expect the final outputs from these studies will help us to avoid or minimise any potential impacts of this proposal on the harbour.”