New Zealand refinery completes expansion

New Zealand Refining Co. Ltd. (NZRC) has commissioned the long-awaited $365 million (NZ) Te Mahi Hou (TMH) expansion project at its 107,000-b/d Marsden Point refinery at Northland on the North Island’s east coast (OGJ Online, Nov. 5, 2015; Mar. 4, 2014).

Handed over for startup to NZRC’s operations team on Nov. 25, TMH’s new continuous catalyst regeneration (CCR) unit is producing on specification gasoline about 3 weeks ahead of the original completion date of late December, with gasoline production from the 50-year-old semi-regen platformer it replaces now completely discontinued, NZRC said.

While additional startup activities due to be completed in the coming weeks to fully integrate TMH into the refinery-wide operations, the project, which took 4 years to complete, will result in multiple benefits for New Zealand’s sole refinery, particularly in the current volatile crude and gasoline price environment, said David Cunningham, TMH project director.

With its CCR unit designed for planned maintenance every 6 years as compared with the decommissioned platformer’s required maintenance shutdown every 18 months, TMH, once fully commissioned, will equip the refinery to:

• Lift petrol production by 13 million bbl/year from its current 2 million bbl/year to increase NZRC’s share of the country’s petrol demand from to 65% from about 55%.

• Reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 120,000 tonnes/year through improved efficiency on refinery processing units.

• Deliver a structural uplift in NZRC’s gross refinery margin of about 85-90¢ (US)/bbl.

• Increase the refinery’s operating cash flows by about $50-$55 million (NZ)/year.

The TMH project, approved in February 2012 and initially named the CCR Platformer project, also will enable the refinery to process increased volumes of a wider range of crudes more effectively and efficiently (OGJ Online, May 29, 2015).

Contact Robert Brelsford at

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