New Zealand Refining Co. Ltd. (NZRC), the country’s sole refiner, has officially opened 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).
Formal unveiling of the project, which took 4 years to complete, occurred at Marsden Point on Mar. 10 during a special ceremony attended by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, RZRC said.
Designed to improve profitability of the refinery as well as its environmental performance, TMH also will result in increased production at the refinery to increase security of domestic fuel supplies for New Zealanders, said Sjoerd Post, NZRC’s chief executive officer.
Completed by domestic contractors from Northland and New Zealand instead of specialists brought in from abroad, TMH has enabled the company to now focus on exploring similar, smaller growth opportunities that will provide attractive payback periods for the refinery, Post said.
The inaugural ceremony follows TMH’s official commissioning, which took place late in 2015 (OGJ Online, Dec. 14, 2015).
Handed over for startup to NZRC’s operations team on Nov. 25, TMH’s new continuous catalyst regeneration (CCR) unit was producing on-specification gasoline about 3 weeks ahead of the original completion date of late December.
Designed for planned maintenance every 6 years as compared with the former platformer’s required maintenance shutdown every 18 months, TMH’s new fully commissioned CRR will allow the refinery to produce an additional 2 million bbl/year of petrol, increase its share of New Zealand’s petrol market by about 10%, and drop carbon dioxide emissions by about 120,000 tonnes/year.
First approved in February 2012 and initially named the CCR Platformer project, TMH also will enable the refinery to process increased volumes of a wider range of crudes more effectively and efficiently (OGJ Online, May 29, 2015).
Reliable refinery operations during 2015 resulted in a landmark operational year for NZRC, during which time the refinery processed a record-high volume of 42.6 million bbl of crude, according to a Feb. 24 release from the company.
Processing fee revenues during 2015 increased to $379.2 million (NZ) compared with $168.4 million (NZ) in 2014, NZRC said.