Marsden-Auckland fuel pipeline

A fuel pipeline between Marsden Point and Auckland has been broken, causing havoc at Auckland Airport. The pipeline is the only source of jet fuel from the airport. I have no idea why they can’t truck fuel to the airport.

I first heard about this today but the break happened on Thursday – NZH: Couple evacuated after aviation gas leak on Refining NZ pipeline

A Northland couple has been evacuated from their home following the discovery of a leak of jet fuel on a section of the Refinery Auckland pipeline near Ruakaka.

Refining NZ spokesman Greg McNeill said a pressure drop on the Refinery to Auckland multi-product pipeline was detected at 2.30pm on Thursday.

The leak was discovered about 8km south of the refinery at Marsden Point near Ruakaka.

“We’ve isolated and contained the leak and our crew is busy carrying out a recovery and repair operation,” Mr Mc Neill said.

A team of firefighters normally based at Refining NZ had gone to the scene and remained on a cordon.

“We’re working with the oil companies to ensure that fuel supplies aren’t unduly impacted,” he said.

Crews were at the scene today but were still trying to discover what had caused the pipe to leak and how much gas had been leaked.

The refinery was continuing to operate while repairs were being carried out and it was not expected the incident would have a significant financial impact on the company.

Northern Advocate on Saturday: Cause of jet fuel leak not known yet

Mr McNeill said it was the first leak he had heard of on the section from Marsden Pt to Wellsford and leaks were not common at all.

Yesterday crews were at the scene off Marsden Pt Rd and were hoping to start digging to expose the leak. Until they could pinpoint the leak they were unable to say what had caused it, Mr McNeill said. It was unclear just how much fuel had leaked.

“We won’t know exactly what we are dealing with until we expose the pipe and see the damage.”

NZH today: Auckland Airport fuel crisis: 23 flights cancelled, more likely

All travel out of Auckland Airport looks likely to be disrupted for several days after a digger lifting swamp kauri on a farm at Ruakaka, south of Whangarei, sliced through the airport’s sole supply of jet fuel from the Marsden Point refinery.

Airport spokesman Simon Lambourne said 23 flights have been cancelled in the past 24 hours.

NZ Refining spokesman Greg McNeill said the pipeline was likely to be shut down for several days, with two engineers flying in from Canada tomorrow.

Petrol and diesel can be trucked into Auckland by tanker, but the airport depends entirely on the pipeline and is now running out of stored supplies of aviation fuel.

McNeill confirmed that the pipeline was cut by “external damage” but was unable to confirm that a digger was trying to lift a kauri log.

Refining NZ spokesman Greg McNeill said the issue began on Thursday when a leak was spotted in the pipeline that supplies aviation fuel from Marsden Point to Wiri, South Auckland, near the airport.

The 170km pipeline is constantly monitored and on Thursday a drop in pressure was noticed.

A helicopter was put up to survey the pipeline and the leak was identified on farmland at Ruakaka, about 8km from the Marsden Point refinery.

From Judith Collins, Minister of Energy and Resources: Temporary disruption to Marsden Point pipeline

Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins has spoken to Refining NZ and the heads of fuel companies affected by the disruption to the Marsden Point pipeline to Auckland and offered Government support if it is required.

A leak was discovered in a section of the pipeline which runs between the refinery and the storage depot at Wiri, and work is underway to repair it.

“I have spoken to Sjoerd Post, chief executive of Refining NZ, which owns the pipeline, as well as Mobil, BP and Z Energy, which all use the pipeline to supply fuel to Auckland.

“Refining NZ is doing all it can to repair the pipeline and industry is working to minimise any inconvenience to customers and the public.

“Refining NZ has all the expert technical assistance resources it needs, including international expertise. I have also offered them, and the companies supplying fuel, Government assistance, if we are needed.

“There are fuel stocks on hand in Auckland and additional stocks of petrol and diesel are being trucked in directly from the refinery, and from the terminal in Mt Maunganui. The fuel companies are confident that supply of these fuels will be maintained and it is unlikely that motorists will be inconvenienced.

“The pipeline is the only source of jet fuel for Auckland Airport, so precautions have been taken to restrict the amount of fuel being used. Airlines have options to manage their operations and will be looking to minimise any inconvenience for travellers. They will keep their customers informed of any changes to flight schedules, as required.

This is quite embarrassing for Auckland Airport, potentially for the Government who bizarrely seem to be lining up for photo ops…


…and especially for the digger driver who cut the line.

Leave a comment


  1. chrism56

     /  17th September 2017

    Because NZ is long and stringy, there are a lot of critical infrastructure points. The DC line Benmore to Haywards, SH1 over the Bombay hills, The Maui gas line are easy examples. Cut or close any of them and there are serious problems.
    With regards trucking in fuel. Each of the long distance flights take off with about 200tonne of fuel onboard – about 8 truck and trailer loads. Fuel tankers also have significant restrictions on where they can drive so they need to take circuitous routes. Even if it could be dispatched from Auckland waterfront, there probably aren’t enough trucks around to keep the airport running.

  2. phantom snowflake

     /  17th September 2017

    Oravida….swamp kauri….Judith Collins…. It’s all a bit overwhelming really!

  3. Arnold koppens

     /  17th September 2017

    Was a really good informative news until the last paragraph where a mix of politics and blame has trashed an otherwise good news item

  4. Revel

     /  18th September 2017

    You can hardly blame anyone but the moronic digger driver. In the UK he would be front page of the Daily Mail by now as well as his work history and immigration status.

  5. pickled possum

     /  18th September 2017

    Capitalists draining the Kauri swamp … one swamp at a time.
    Northland the land of many resources
    NZ INC vacuuming up the resources
    Leaving homelessness, poverty, suicide,high unemployment, depression,
    shite education, dwindling fish stock, one lane bridges te me te me
    …. as payment
    Might be 14 days before it fixed

    • Blazer

       /  18th September 2017

      don’t tell me….extracting kauri for export as ‘art’…scribble on it and …$$$$$ for…Oravida.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  18th September 2017

      Northland is beautiful and resource full but sadly also half full of bad ideas and beliefs. The consequences are homelessness, poverty, addictions, crime, depression, lack of education, violence, mistreatment of animals and abuse and neglect of resources and opportunities.

  6. Blazer

     /  18th September 2017

    the Govt are lining up to show case their experience at handling difficult situations…


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