Second consultation round on port proposal begins
Refining NZ has begun its second round of public consultation on its proposed changes to the Whangarei Harbour to allow bigger cargoes of crude to Marsden Point.
The company want to to dredge up to four metres in parts of the outer and inner shipping channels, and up to eight metres in targeted spots around the refinery jetties to allow for Suezmax ships to berth at the port.
These larger ships carry around a million barrels at a time, nearly one third more than the Aframax tankers.
The company says bigger cargoes would reduce the cost of transporting crude oil to the refinery.
Refining NZ chief executive Sjoerd Post says the first public consultation round in March 2015 provided a variety of views, including the choice of location for dredged material, the importance of Mair Bank, and the continuing role of the refinery as a major employer in the region.
"It's exciting to now have the specialist reports finally completed so we can now talk in more depth about the benefits and the potential impacts of this proposal, especially, how any impacts can be avoided, eliminated or mitigated for," he says.
If approved, dredging works could be underway in 2019.
Further feedback is being sought which will help identify issues of importance and areas of cultural value or special interest that need to be taken into account.
There are two alternatives to the proposed dredging:
- Single point mooring; where crude ships berth at a mooring point outside of the harbour and crude is transported by underwater pipeline to the refinery. This would be a major project in itself, and likely have a greater impact on the harbour environment.
- Ship to ship transfer; in deep water to transfer the cargo into smaller tankers for final discharge at the refinery.
Either option would require the use of a carrier capable of twice the cargo of a fully loaded Suezmax – and more storage capacity would be required at the refinery.
"The Deeper Story" pop-up container outlining the proposal will be located in and around Whangarei from March 25 until April 13.
There will also be expert information days at Forum North, Bream Bay Community Support Trust and Parua Bay School.
Visit deeperstory.co.nz for details.