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Closing the loops on oil spills and broken pipe lines

Written By: - Date published: 9:10 am, September 18th, 2017 - 211 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster, Economy, energy, Environment, peak oil, sustainability, transport - Tags: ,

The irony election just went into overdrive.

Peak Oil theory is an analysis of the relationship between the peak in fossil fuel production, time, energy returned on energy invested, and the global economy. It’s not about running out of oil reserves in the ground (although according to the laws of physics there will be a peak with that too, because, you know, humans are using fossil fuels at a exponentially higher rate than fossil fuels are being created by nature). It’s about what happens when demand from an increasing population and an increasingly industrialised population comes into conflict with the decrease of easily extractable reserves.

I’m mentioning this because the headlines today are full of the impact on people of cancelled airline flights due to the breaking of the fuel line between the Marsden Refinery and the Auckland airport. Get used to it, because as with climate change and extreme weather events, the confluence of climate change, peak oil and the consequences of neoliberalism will start to have increasing effect on us personally.

Strangely I’m not seeing much reporting on the environmental issues, including what happened to the 70,000 litre of av gas that ended up in the land at the Ruakaka farm. RNZ are reporting the oil company claim that most of the oil has been recovered.

Nothing to see here, move on. And how nice for the farmers.

The regional council has signed off on the recovery, but colour me cynical on trusting the authorities on the environment. What is most? How was it recovered? What is the impact on soil and water and wildlife? This is where we’ve come to, trust is very low.

Astounding that RNZ interviewed the oil company boss for ten minutes, and in what was an otherwise interesting and informative interview that talked about forward planning and infrastructure it made no mention of climate change or the need to stop burning fossil fuels.


Remember this?

According to the Department of Conservation’s website, wetlands “are one of our richest natural assets – or were. We’re only just beginning to understand the many reasons why we should have left them alone.”

Ms Collins said she had no idea environmentalists were concerned about digging up wetland areas.

While it is illegal to export raw native timber, 3 News understands Oravida is planning to set up a processing plant so it can send the Kauri offshore as a finished product.

Ms Collins said the concerns have nothing to do with her.

“Does that have anything to do with me? Am I the minister of wetlands? Go and find someone who actually cares about this, because I don’t,” she said.

“There’s a large number of our birds that depend on wetlands for their survival,” said Dr Smith.

“It’s not my issue. I don’t like wetlands – they’re swamps,” said Ms Collins.

This is all comes less than a month after the Victoria Forest Park controversy, when Energy Minister Simon Bridges signed off the biggest forest park in the country for oil exploration, despite never having heard of it.

A few pūkeko coming home to roost there. The pipeline was apparently damaged at some point by a digger after swamp kauri. The leak itself happened last Thursday, which begs some questions about why it’s taken so long for all involved to tell the public. And there’s a fair amount of discussion about whether the kauri digger is associated with Oravida. Whether it is or isn’t, this accident was set up a number of years ago.

Not so much closing some loops here, as pointing to the gordian knot in the living room. The natural consequence of 30 years of neoliberalism, and 9 years of FJK’s National in particular. The extractive economy.

But it’s not just them, it’s us too.

As I’ve written about before, flying causes climate change. Not just from the emissions from the av gas used in that flight from Auckland to wherever, but the emissions from the total infrastructure used to move humans quickly around the planet and from the way the economy works that in order for airlines to remain viable the infrastructure has to keep increasing. To have cheap flights we have to build more airports, which means more cheap flights and more airports and more flights and more emissions from all the extra-flight activity. Meanwhile the world is getting hotter.

We either need to stop flying so much, or we need a non-GHG replacement for av gas (unlikely in ways that will meet current demand) or we need to accept that we are ok with catastrophic climate change. Because while industrialised nations are fast getting on board with public transport and electric cars, flying is going to become the next symbol of our refusal to take climate change seriously when it confronts out personal lifestyles and how the economy runs. Start thinking about not just the business trips cancelled, but all the freight disruptions from this week. In a post carbon world are you ok with getting your books off Amazon via sea freight? What do you want to have happen now?

These aren’t a random set of circumstances. There are connections between climate change, the stress of cancelled flights, the digging up of swamp kauri, the environment, failing infastructure, neoliberalism, the end of the empire. We’re at the tipping point where our greed for resources and our insistence on perpetual growth and being able to do whatever the hell we like so long as we have the dosh and can get away with it are going to either change to something more sustainable or fall over completely.

And here we are about to elect a government.

This shit has to stop. We have to stop thinking that digging up taonga and selling for the best bucks is a reasonable thing to do. We have to stop thinking that being able to fly where we like and when we like is a reasonable thing to do. We have to stop thinking that climate change is something that is separate from our politics and our lifestyles.

Oh, and Labour? Time to commit to keeping all fossil fuels in the ground. No more deep sea oil drilling, no more fracking, no more new coal mines. We cannot afford to burn the reserves we have now, it’s insanity to allow continued fossil fuel exploration. We also cannot afford a major oil spill. So often NZ gets these dry runs at what might be on the horizon, here’s another one. Are we paying attention?

Feel free to use this thread to discuss general issues around the Ruakaka/Auckland fuel crisis, I just wanted to put the discussion in a broader context. 

211 comments on “Closing the loops on oil spills and broken pipe lines ”

  1. Rosemary McDonald 1

    “The pipeline was apparently damaged at some point by a digger after swamp kauri. ”

    No, no, no! That’s “fake news”!


    Good luck delving into this stinking pile weka!

  2. tracey 2

    Thanks heaps for this weka.
    Maggie Barry? Yoo hoooooo Maggie Barry!

  3. Pat 3

    “Ms Collins said the concerns have nothing to do with her.

    “Does that have anything to do with me? Am I the minister of wetlands? Go and find someone who actually cares about this, because I don’t,” she said.

    “There’s a large number of our birds that depend on wetlands for their survival,” said Dr Smith.

    “It’s not my issue. I don’t like wetlands – they’re swamps,” said Ms Collins.”

    Assuming this is accurate then they really have abandoned all pretence……is this Judiths Bush moment….’you are either with us or with the terrorists?’

  4. I can’t follow all the threats of this.

    Where did the contaminated soil go. Who has checked the spillage. The environmental aspects are huge. Let alone the political damage.

    Thanks for the post.

    • weka 4.2

      The oil company dude said most of it ran into a culvert and was able to be collected. Sounds reassuring doesn’t it 😉

      • gsays 4.2.1

        He also reckons the digger after swamp kauri was fake news.
        Not a mention of what DID cause the rupture, nor can he be sure when the rupture occurred.

        • weka

          I heard that. The only thing they know is that a digger at some point touched the pipeline, lol. He’s a very good PR man.

          • Paul Campbell

            yes that was my impression … someone with a digger scrapes along the pipe line (removing the anti-corrosion barrier), a long time later it starts to leak …. (one can imagine the digger driver going “oh shit” and quietly pushing it back under the swamp hoping no one saw)

            The thing is that they can probably tell it was scraped by some big metal thing, and being in a swamp they’re likely wondering “who pushes giant metal things through swamps in Ruakaka?” …. “oh people looking for swamp kauri” … it’s kind of the obvious conclusion to come to – and unless the farmer owns up to it, who it really was is unlikely to come forwards.

            The interesting thing of course is: “is there a law that will trigger a 3rd party investigation?” because all it is is good ol’ boys scratching each other’s backs

        • Tracey

          And if he knows what did not cause it…

        • marty mars

          Yes apparently it could have been weeks or months ago – damaged all that time waiting to leak…

  5. mosa 5

    Yeah Weka your concern regarding the lack of reporting around the fact that thousands of litres of fuel have been leaking into farmland has raised my concern.

    I noticed that in coverage of this disaster the environmental implications are just swept aside or not even given serious attention unlike the disruption to people’s holidays.

    Are we paying attention ?

    No ! because climate change does not exist in our government’s alternative NZ reality.

    Great post anyway.

    • weka 5.1

      Listening to the RNZ interview, I’m guessing from an oil company perspective and a regional council one, things have been handled well enough. But given that regional councils have overseen 2 decades of farm-sponsored water pollution, I’d like some detail. Is this swamp land? Despite ‘most’ of the oil being recovered what is the impact on the soil microbia? These are important things if we want to treat the land as important rather than just a resource.

  6. greywarshark 6

    The irony thermometer just rises and rises over this government and its hard-fought election to keep bumbling on with the pocketful of mumbles that are promises that the smart NZer will swallow. What a deep throat? Like a pelican, this Peli sure can digest a lot of smelly fish.

    Ironic point here>
    And funny with black humour – a message by twitter from Whena Owen says that the word is that the digger was after swamp kauri. I thought this morning when I heard the news that that would be an impossible connection that would complete the cycle of stupidity, ineffectiveness and unregulated greed, that is the hallmark of our present governmental and business system. Regulated greed would cause problems but be almost manageable, but the behaviour of the rip-off merchants from all sectors slides us down past farce to disaster.

    However in good user-pays style and using modern business practices, the airlines or government or both will now sue the pants, underpants and boots off the digger that caused the break in the pipeline and all those who encouraged and facilitated him, and their families unto the fourth generation. Because that is how much this debacle will have cost them and us.

    And it is just an analogy for what has been happening to NZ since bloody neo lib and the ‘export or die’ mob started decimating the country on this bloody treadmill we are on of spending more than we can earn, and suffering the effects of the non-government imbalance of payments. It is not government spending that is killing us, get that into your heads you half-baked superior RWs and left-wingers who are still naively believing everything you hear about the country’s financial standing, GDP, unemployment rates etc. All slanted stats.

    Our country’s main income earner and tenuous connection with first world countries, tourism and the only transport that brings people here for any length of time, the airlines, is in jeopardy from a feckless digger.

    That seems all we are good at – digging. Mines, also into our reserves for the future, also into our brand and past virtues to cover the lesser methods and unsavoury effects that are now displayed to the surprise of visitors with naive expectations of 100% good.

    And Australians used to be called Diggers, resulting from wartime activities. Its a term from past history, heard around Anzac Day, but they have a modern slant on it and now dig into our wealth creation for themselves, and our historic freedom to trade and interact, now open to increasing barriers.

    Digging will be our main occupation soon. We are digging ourselves into the grave of the little country that had high expectations and low commitment.

  7. Start thinking about not just the business trips cancelled, but all the freight disruptions from this week. In a post carbon world are you ok with getting your books off Amazon via sea freight?

    I only use digital books: Printed books use three times more raw materials and 78 times more water to produce when compared to e-books.

    We cannot afford to burn the reserves we have now, it’s insanity to allow continued fossil fuel exploration.

    It’s insanity to continue to allow the burning of fossil fuels never mind allowing the removal of electrical transport infrastructure for trains and buses to have them then burning diesel.

    • Does that include the environmental aspects of producing the readers and phones and computers?

      • Computers are having a decreasing effect upon the environment as better processes are used. We’re still not doing so well there and need to put in place better recycling of them.

        Still, have you considered the environmental aspects of a paper book?


        And consider this point. No matter what I’m and everyone else is going to have a PC and a smartphone so using ebooks represents a decrease in environmental damage.

        • marty mars

          Sorry im sure we have done this before. Not the place. I totally disagree with your opinion.

          • Draco T Bastard

            My opinion is based upon the facts. I even provided links.

            Yours seems to be based upon how you want things to be with no regard to reality.

            • marty mars

              Only the facts you like. – sorry I don’t rate your opinion on these things please don’t reply I’m not interested.

              • Once was Tim

                Indeed, because if we have to go down the cost accounting route – we’d have to start considering the ‘cost’ of diminishing spatial awareness that comes with our snouts constantly looking at a screen – along with all the ‘app’ temptations that go with it.
                It’s a challenge I bet any cost-accountant (and indeed DtB ) wouldn’t want to take on – even at $1k per hour (plus GST).
                mmmm, but let’s call for a consultant’s report and we can come back here in a year or so and “have a conversation – going forward”

              • Well, where’s the facts that back your opinion?

                Because so far you haven’t produced any which makes your opinion totally worthless.

                • Someone else has refuted your outrageous claims with facts as I suspected would happen.

                  btw you keep going down the same road of trying to ridicule those who don’t want to play your game. Another approach would be more credible for a factoid.

                  • Someone else has refuted your outrageous claims with facts as I suspected would happen.

                    No they didn’t. They raised good questions about the source which raised the point that we don’t have access to the necessary data because it’s often hidden behind commercial sensitivity.

                    btw you keep going down the same road of trying to ridicule those who don’t want to play your game.

                    The only person who’s been doing that is you.

                    • Lol yeah your dubious claims that seemed wrong are wrong but not for you – ho hum – I can handle the positivism, a lot believe that but the arrogance is irritating I have to say. I’ll let others bother with you if they can be bothered.

                    • Lol yeah your dubious claims that seemed wrong are wrong

                      [Citation required]

                      Really, all you make is assertions and never back up anything you say.

    • SpaceMonkey 7.2

      Ok, that may be the cost of production for a digital book, but what about the cost to manage and use them? I don’t need power to read my book except at night… and even then I can use candle light.

      I think there is merit in retaining the skills and ability to make books over digital books… because when the lights do go out, all that digitally stored information is going to be useless.

        • weka

          When the Alpine Fault shifts yes the grid will fail for a time. All hydro in NZ has a limited life span. Whether we have the capacity to replace them when the time comes is an unknown. They were built with fossil fuels and GHG emissions.

          • Draco T Bastard

            When the Alpine Fault shifts yes the grid will fail for a time.

            For a time – we’ll get over it.

            They were built with fossil fuels and GHG emissions.

            Which is a false distinction.
            The world’s oldest dams still in use

            We’ve been building dams a hell of a lot longer than we’ve been using fossil fuels.

            • weka

              Sure, but unless you believe they’re going to last forever, the main hydro in NZ will have to be replaced using tech and materials we don’t have figured out yet.

              I’m good with small scale masonry dams. We just won’t be able to power BAU with that. Which leaves us with a debate about whether we will be able to power a society industrialised to ebook production. It’s possible but not a given IMO.

              • Sure, but unless you believe they’re going to last forever, the main hydro in NZ will have to be replaced using tech and materials we don’t have figured out yet.

                You mean the same tech that was in use 2000 years ago?

                I think we’ve figured it out.

                I’m good with small scale masonry dams. We just won’t be able to power BAU with that. Which leaves us with a debate about whether we will be able to power a society industrialised to ebook production.

                No, it really doesn’t. We already know how to do that with present technology.

                BTW, I think ebooks need to be banned as they’re simply not needed. Smart phones and PCs work just as well and have multiple uses.

                • ropata

                  “ebooks need to be banned”


                  now I’m really confused 😛

                  • E book readers that have no other purpose.

                    • Richard Christie

                      Hmmf, I don’t have a smart phone, I don’t want one and f*cked if I’ll carry a pc to the beach for summer reading.

                      E books, no matter what platform, can be a pain in the arse if, like me, you read a far number of technical and scientific articles. Often such articles demand constant navigation back and forth to earlier points in the book, (to check on formulae, data tables etc). Frankly Ebooks are a huge fail in comparison to the ease in which physical paper books allow you to to this.

                    • KJT

                      Not taking a side, but I find it much easier to find the formula, page or sample I was looking for, on a computer. Just saying.

                      Especially, as I have to do often, to look up a paragraph in a vast number of international laws, requirements and regulations.

                    • Often such articles demand constant navigation back and forth to earlier points in the book, (to check on formulae, data tables etc). Frankly Ebooks are a huge fail in comparison to the ease in which physical paper books allow you to to this.

                      I’ve found that depends upon the e-book format. Some are really good – others suck. Interestingly enough I’ve found Kindle to be about the best for bookmarking, notes etcetera but I don’t think many tech manuals come out on that.

        • Robert Guyton

          Beeswax (mind your own 🙂

          • Draco T Bastard

            I considered that but it’s a very limited supply and still has the problems of particulate matter in the atmosphere and a higher probability of burning down your house. So, yeah, give me electric lights and heating over the old fashioned shit.

            • Robert Guyton

              Particulate matter in the atmosphere? Ah, that wonderful fragrance of beeswax; heavenly! Some of that “old fashioned shit” sure smells good! Ever taken a sniff at a power outlet? A whiff of ozone is the best you could hope for.

              • xanthe

                funnily enough a smell of dead animal/fish coming from your power outlet is a sign of arcing overheating, fire imminent.

                • Robert Guyton

                  Or sign of an expired mouse, which having chewed on the wires, was roasted. Electricity sure shortened that mammal’s lifespan. Now if he’d been nibbling on a beeswax candle instead…

                • joe90

                  a smell of dead animal/fish coming from your power outlet is a sign of arcing overheating, fire imminent.

                  It’s not a sign of anything other than Bakelite degrading as it ages and as it degrades, the heat generated by electric wiring makes it smell.


              • Particulate matter in the atmosphere? Ah, that wonderful fragrance of beeswax; heavenly!

                So’s the shortened lifespan that comes with it.

                • Robert Guyton

                  Burning beeswax candles shortens your lifespan?
                  Stretching it there, Draco. I’d suggests the relaxation resulting from having a honey-fragrant beeswax candle burning; the focus that brings on the sweeter things in life, would in fact extend your likely lifespan. And sweeten your world view 🙂

                  • Burning beeswax candles shortens your lifespan?

                    Particulates in the atmosphere shorten your lifespan – doesn’t matter where they come from:

                    The finer a particle is, the deeper it can penetrate the human body via the pulmonary tract. The finest particles can even reach the cardiovascular system. PM10 can disturb the mucous secretionl in the respiration system, cause breathing problems and increase the susceptibility to infections of the respiratory tract.

                    What would be of interest here is:

                    The presence of polycyclic aromatic carbohydrates (PAC) in some dust particles does, amongst others, promote the development of lung cancer.

                    You know, the stuff that you can smell.

                    And sweeten your world view 🙂

                    If my world-view was any sweeter we’d all die of sugar poisoning 😛

                    • McFlock

                      In theory, you’re correct. Any particulate has the potential to cause harm.

                      In practise, he’d probably need to be hotboxing a beeswax fire for there to be a detectable effect on his health. Or live to 200, in which case beeswax-associated lung cancer might well get him.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Particulates in the atmosphere are what’re shielding us from some of the heat of the sun; without them, we’d be well cooked, thanks to the Greenhouse effect. Burn beeswax candles to extend mankinds’ life expectancy! In any case, the beautiful frangrance the emanates from the skin of a mother’s-milk-fed baby – a threat to a Grandfather’s longevity? I don’t think so! Quite the opposite in fact. Fragrances detected can have powerful health-giving qualities, Draco; I prescribe less sugar, more frankincense and myrh for you to ease your crabbiness 🙂

                    • Andre

                      Robert, far better to burn that beeswax in a thermal power plant to make electricity to power an LED at a net chemical-energy-to-light efficiency of around 5% than burn it in a candle at a net chemical-energy-to light efficiency around 0.04%

                    • Particulates in the atmosphere are what’re shielding us from some of the heat of the sun; without them, we’d be well cooked, thanks to the Greenhouse effect.

                      That’s really bothering me because it shows an ignorance about what the Greenhouse Effect is:

                      The greenhouse effect is the process by which radiation from a planet’s atmosphere warms the planet’s surface to a temperature above what it would be without its atmosphere.

                      Without the Greenhouse Effect the Earth would be frozen.

            • marty mars

              Old fashioned shit?
              Mate you have a lifetime of learning coming up – good to be starting from such a low base but sheesh you really are an uncool cat dracyio. ☺

              • the reason why we do things the way we do is because it’s usually better than what we did before. There are some exceptions such as cars But I’m not seeing that with ebooks.

                As I said, I’d have the smart phone and PC anyway. Buying paper books on top of that would be an increase in resources used that need to happen.

                You’re obviously using a PC so the same applies to you.

                It’s not me who going to be doing the re-learning.

        • Once was Tim

          Faaark! Strange ole whurl ain’t it! Sometimes @Draco, you post some really good comments. Other times you come across as an ideologically driven shit with the power only for binary thought.
          Excuse my judgemental question (as someone who has a drive-by interest in TS and its bubble) – but are you an IT professional who claims ‘left wing’ allegiance?

          Right now (and given your interaction with Mary Mars, AND others), you remind me of the IT professional out on the town on a Friday or Saturday night that you overhear on a daily constitutional – all busy reinventing wheels – BUT only with a different aspect.
          Usually, they’re often SO fucking eagre for others to ‘overhear’ their discussion as though that would somehow convince the others of their smarts and cleverness.

          For me it just says “what a fucking wanker”, or ” PLEASE ….. take your hand off your cock” – but then I’m in a minority these days so fear not.

          But then, you’re in good company and not alone

          • Draco T Bastard

            Other times you come across as an ideologically driven shit with the power only for binary thought.

            That’s probably more because I’d have to off on an encyclopaedic rant to get all the nuances across.

            Excuse my judgemental question (as someone who has a drive-by interest in TS and its bubble) – but are you an IT professional who claims ‘left wing’ allegiance?

            No, I’m what one would call a Jack of all Trades.

            Right now (and given your interaction with Mary Mars, AND others), you remind me of the IT professional out on the town on a Friday or Saturday night that you overhear on a daily constitutional – all busy reinventing wheels – BUT only with a different aspect.

            I’m sure that such people exist. In fact, I’ve met some. I usually question their logic as they seem incapable of putting one and one together and coming up with 10.

    • weka 7.3

      Do you ever buy anything that travels by air?

      • Not if I can help it. When buying offshore I specify delivery by ship if I have the option. Although, ships aren’t that great either.

        • KJT

          Just looked at the article you linked to. The fact is ships will be a greater proportion of emissions in future, not because they are emitting more, but because they are a form of transport we cannot, with present technology, power with electricity. And ships will be replacing airplanes and trucks. Which emit many times the Carbon for the same amount of cargo.

          Currently, one ship on the NZ coast replaces over 2000 trucks, every week.

          • Draco T Bastard

            I couldn’t find the article that I was looking for that showed that ships were a bigger problem because of the dirty fuel that they use and the invasive species that they take with them.

            Ships are certainly better than trucks and planes though and they could use cleaner fuel.

            • KJT

              The dirty fuel and invasive species are a regulatory problem, which should have been addressed decades ago. But farmers wanted cheap freight.

      • Robert Guyton 7.3.2

        Potted pheasant?

    • Richard Christie 7.4

      I only use digital books: Printed books use three times more raw materials and 78 times more water to produce when compared to e-books.

      That appears to be a very dodgy claim.

      The source cited by wikipedia entry for that claim does not support it.

      The source states

      One e-reader requires the extraction of 33 pounds of minerals. That includes trace amounts of exotic metals like columbite-tantalite, often mined in war-torn regions of Africa. But it’s mostly sand and gravel to build landfills; they hold all the waste from manufacturing wafer boards for the integrated circuits. An e-reader also requires 79 gallons of water to produce its batteries and printed wiring boards, and in refining metals like the gold used in trace quantities in the circuits.

      A book made with recycled paper consumes about two-thirds of a pound of minerals. (Here again, the greatest mineral use is actually gravel, mainly for the roads used to transport materials throughout the supply chain.) And it requires just 2 gallons of water to make the pulp slurry that is then pressed and heat-dried to make paper.

      This appears to be the opposite of the claim.

      Besides the source is an opinion piece with no citation to any published research.

      Always check your sources.

      • marty mars 7.4.1

        Thank you for those facts.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Actually, he didn’t provide any facts – just like you.

          He did point out that the source was an opinion piece at The NYTimes and it could be that the authors didn’t do their homework well enough. They do seem pretty open about that though.

          But that’s part of the problem – we don’t have access to the raw data that we need. We can only surmise from what we do have available. And that information indicates that digital books read on smartphones and PCs is better than paper books.

          from the same article:

          All in all, the most ecologically virtuous way to read a book starts by walking to your local library.

          Wonder if they considered how many libraries that would require and the resources needed to produce, maintain and run them?

          • Richard Christie

            Actually, to me the important take home from the NYT article is :

            With respect to fossil fuels, water use and mineral consumption, the impact of one e-reader payback equals roughly 40 to 50 books. When it comes to global warming, though, it’s 100 books; with human health consequences, it’s somewhere in between.

            Unfortunately, it’s also asserted without citation.

          • marty mars

            Imo he pointed out that your facts were in fact based on unsupported independent opinion. You agree imo by decrying the lack of raw data and the hope of best guess. Have i got that wrong?

  8. tc 8

    Welcome to the ugliness that crucial infrastructure like this has become due to years of corporate profit focused maintenance and a regulator with no teeth/mandate and few resources.

    Lift the carpet and keep lifting till all the issues with the Maui pipeline are on the table as this is thin end of the wedge stuff.

    Is this part of what Vector flogged to a bank consortium a few years back with the usual commcomm rubber stamp ? Called FirstGas now.

    This drives gas around the North Island, runs up to marsden point. At the time it had backflush practices on the marsden point/airport link before jet fuel is pumped back down which seems to require some focus here maybe.

  9. DH 9

    Curious how we can all make different links from the same event.

    My own thinking was more pragmatic. The airline fuel shortage is entirely the fault of Auckland Airport and, consequently, the looters who sold public assets to profit takers.

    • weka 9.1

      That too. I guess for me, I see the interruption of flights as a good thing if it wakes people up on a number of levels. The failure of infrastructure due to neoliberalism is going to be a biggie. So is infrastructure security going forward because of climate change, we will be so much more dependent on it.

      • Macro 9.1.1

        Hey!! I’m booked to fly to Perth to visit the Mokopuna tomorrow!

        • weka

          It sucks, right? This is another huge one that Kiwis will struggle with, so many of us have family in places that can only realistically be flown to to visit. What are we going to do?

          • Macro

            Today’s flight is delayed so I guess we will go up at the same time as usual and sit in the departure lounge.
            It seems they are cancelling most short haul flights (trans-Tasman and domestic) , but longer flights are going but diverting through Australia where they are refuelling.
            Actually – as we used to say in the Navy
            “If you have time to spare – go by Air”
            It’s always a case of “Hurry up – and wait”
            It’s always a risk in air travel that flights will be delayed or cancelled so you just accept that.

            • weka

              How long does it take to sail to Australia from here? Or ship?

              • Macro

                3 – 4 days depending on conditions.
                Sailing again – depending on the vessel 1 – 2 weeks. But with modern sail – it could be 3 – 4 days depending on wind conditions.
                But that would be to Sydney – then would need to take the train to Perth – and that is a week long journey.

              • KJT

                Cargo ship currently three days to Sidney.

                Sailing. Not really an option direct. The prevailing winds are SW.
                Over a week. Many ships in the days of sail had real trouble even going that way. They were known to give up at times, and go East.
                The best sailing ship route takes you to Queensland. And is seasonal.
                Wind assisted. Yes. Motor to Oz and sail back.

                Don’t forget, modern yachts are optimised for speed, not heavy loads.

                • In Vino

                  Modern yachts sail to windward far better than the old sailing ships did before the age of steam. It is no great problem at all for a modern sailing boat to cross the SW winds and sail to Sydney. But none of our modern yachts carry cargo. And it always takes longer to zigzag when sailing against the wind – but the wind also goes NW before a normal cold front. You only need to sail on the right tack at the right time, and the trip could be quite quick.

                  • KJT

                    Not for long enough unfortunately.

                    After years of plugging into head winds across the Tasman on cargo ships.

                    For cargo you need a box. Boxes do not sail well to windward. 🙂

                    Mind you, a steady state economy, which is what we need for environmental and social sustainability, also does not require the wholesale transfer of short lived junk, or the commodities to pay for it, between countries.

                    Sail, may well fit the purpose.
                    I wonder how much I can charge, for teaching people how to sail a square rigger? LOL.

            • mary_a

              Macro ( … good luck with getting your flight.

              We are all packed up and ready to leave Auckland for good on Thursday, to live permanently in the south island. Cromwell to be exact, flying into Queenstown, with two cats in tow. So I guess like everyone else we will just have to turn up at the airport and hope for the best. But the cats …. another story I guess, if the flight is cancelled!

          • Andre

            Worldwide jetfuel use is around 300 billion litres/year. That includes short-haul passenger and freight, as well as long-haul passenger.

            Worldwide biofuel production is around 100 billion litres per year. Almost all of that is used as petrol and diesel additives for land-based transport. Which is easy to shift to electric, and is already shifting.

            So if we stop using fossil fuels, short haul flights might shift to electric, a lot of air cargo might go back to land/sea transport, and long-haul passenger flights shift to biofuel. This could be achievable with only a small increase in biofuel production over what we currently have.

            • weka

              Biofuels have GHG emissions. I’m going to guess most of it is currently being produced within systems that rely on fossil fuels and artificial fertiliser.

              The maths is all very interesting, but the systems analysis is where the real stuff is at, and when we start looking at that we can design for a post-carbon world. At the moment it’s a bit of rearranging so we can BAU (although I do think lots of the electric tech will be useful going forwards once all the jiggery pokery comes out in the wash).

            • greywarshark

              You come up with intresting info in your comments thanks.

            • Exkiwiforces

              The United States Airforce along NASA and the FAA are pushing the research in Biofuels for aircraft use. Well actually the USA DoD has research branch that is purely looking at Biofuels/ Alt fuels and another on the effects of climate change on land, water and food etc.

              • tracey

                How much land is used to produce x amount of fuel?

                • Exkiwiforces

                  Well that would depend on if its corn based or sugar based ethanol or any other main food staple such as grain based product used in the marking of Biofuels and the other unknown is the free market effect of supply and demand.

                  When I was in the Gan for example: the Locals would prefer to grow poppies for the opium trade than grow any of the more staple food varieties because the return for opium oil was far better than growing corn, maze etc.

                  USA DoD other research in Climate Change is. The change in land use, water is mainly about food security and the effects that climate change will bring.

                • Andre

                  If the question is what’s the best way to harvest energy from a given amount of land, that’s solar electricity generation, either PV or solar thermal. But to grow biofuels, there’s some representative numbers in the link below. Note that algae is still in the lab demo stage, as far as I know. I’m not aware of any successful industrial scale biofuel-from-algae operations, yet.


      • DH 9.1.2

        I think one could possibly weave a larger tapestry weka, with the environmental failures being another symptom rather than an isolated issue of its own.

        IMO what we’ve really been seeing is a near-total abdication of responsibility by what we thought was our Government. Auckland Airport should have strategic fuel reserves and it’s a core Govt function to make things like that happen.

        Around the country there’s thousands upon thousands more similar disaster waiting to happen, National have never really governed.

        • weka

          Yes, the point of the post was to link up all the issues, not see them in isolation. The same dynamics underpin them all.

          “Auckland Airport should have strategic fuel reserves and it’s a core Govt function to make things like that happen.”

          Yes, although I would also say that by this stage both Ak Airport and local and national govt should be enacting plans to move to post-carbon. How’s that going to work now? Can’t build solid infrastructure and systems based on ongoing and increasing fossil fuel use.

  10. Rosemary McDonald 10

    This story gets even more interesting (if the swamp kauri digger proves not to be fake news!!) when you factor in that the Ruakaka Pipeline is a popular DOC walking track and part of the well promoted Te Araroa Trail.




  11. Macro 11

    That Pipeline could well become obsolete in 10 years time.
    One of the most fascinating 1 hour watches I’ve encounted.
    Tony Seba: Clean Disruption – Energy & Transportation.
    It doesn’t seem feasible – but as he demonstrates time and again newly introduced technology is constantly disregarded as to the extent of the change that will eventuate form their wholesale adoption.

    • weka 11.1

      got a tl;dw?

      • Macro 11.1.1

        Stanford University futurist Tony Seba spent the last decades studying technological disruptions. He argues that the Electric Vehicle, battery storage, and solar power, along with autonomous vehicles, are a perfect example of a 10x exponential process which will wipe fossil fuels off the market in about a decade.
        TonySeba.com – RethinkX.com

        He is the author of several books, including most recently “Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation: How Silicon Valley Will Make Oil, Nuclear, Natural Gas, Coal, Electric Utilities and Conventional Cars Obsolete by 2030”, and “Solar Trillions: 7 Market and Investment Opportunities in the Emerging Clean-Energy Economy”

        Tony Seba spoke in Boulder, Colorado, where he was awarded the 2017 Sunshine Award by Clean Energy Action (cleanenergyaction.org).

        Filmed and edited pro bono by Martin Voelker with the Colorado Renewable Energy Society

        In it he predicts that fossil fuel pipelines will become obsolete in around 10 – 20 years time as we transition from Fossil Fuels to Solar and (here in NZ) other forms of Clean Energy.
        It really is well worth a watch.

        • Brokenback

          None of which has any meaningful influence over what you correctly put forth re the huge Carbon footprint of Air Travel.

          As an interesting aside [ yes I am a confirmed rugby addict] , I made a conservative calculation of the Jet Fuel required to half fill Eden Park with Lions supporters for the 3rd test AB’s v British/Irish Lions.

          Assuming that 20,000 of said fans had made the journey from UK the fuel required [ using Aircraft manufacturer figures & Airline distance figures]

          was 275 Million litres.

          it would be useful exercise based on the available stats what amount is consumed by our ~4million annual visitors

        • mauī

          In it he predicts that fossil fuel pipelines will become obsolete in around 10 – 20 years time as we transition from Fossil Fuels to Solar and (here in NZ) other forms of Clean Energy.

          I wonder if he looks around at all the objects in his house, all the buildings in his local community and all the materials and processing that took to make them and realises that in every single object there ranges from a quite a lot of oil to absolutely shitloads to produce each one.

          Unfortunately you can’t build a wind turbine out of solar power. It takes real energy. Or replace highly tuned diesel engines (which basically run a developed country) with anything electric.

          • ropata

            Pacific Steel in Favona, Auckland uses approx 5% (?) of Auckland’s power to produce all the rebar and fencing wire for NZ.

            NZ Steel in Glenbrook has its own coal based smelting process.

            So no oil but lots of coal and electricity for 2 big primary producers..

  12. Bill 12

    70 000 litres?

    Well, in good news that’s getting towards a quarter million tonnes of CO2 that didn’t go into our atmosphere.

    In bad news, there’s still another 450 or so flights coming and going from that airport today (14 cancellations)…

    • weka 12.1

      heh. I think they’re planning on recycling the recovered fuel.

      • Bill 12.1.1

        And given their impeccable environmental credentials, they will of course be using a non-fossil energy source to recover it before they…jeez, you mean we’re still burning this stuff!? In this day and age?

    • marty mars 12.2

      Lol that is good news indeed. I wish we’d front up to flying. It’s got to go in its current form and I feel for pretty well all of us with rellies overseas. Trying to price it out just leaves the rich doing it. Big dilemma.

  13. Labour and greens putting the gnats under the microscope – they could have mitigated this and did nothing. Massive short term thinking failure.

    That failure and this IS he final mail for the gnats there mates will not be happy.

    Can’t link – saw it on stuff sorry

    • Carolyn_nth 13.1

      Pipe leak a National failure

      Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has accused National of failing to secure supplies to Auckland Airport, after taking a “short-sighted” approach to warnings.

      Green Party leader James Shaw said as he understood it, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment wrote a report about the scenario in 2012.

      “This is the kind of level of planning that I’ve got to expect from the National Party actually, which is that they tend to think very much in terms of the short term.”

      The airport was critical infrastructure for the economy and “the government has a role in ensuring we’ve got fuel security”, he said.

      “It just shows the precarious nature of our infrastructure and how easy it is to literally put a hole in it.”

      It would be “kind of the height of irony” if half the campaign teams were grounded in the final week of the election campaign, Shaw said.

      i guess the NATS could just announce they are building another expensive road to nowhere.

      • Antoine 13.1.1

        I’m trying to figure out whether this is Govt’s fault or not.

        The pipeline belongs to NZ Refining yes? The supplier is NZ Refining, the purchaser is Auckland Airport? Both publicly owned companies? Does the Govt properly have a role in this matter?


        • Muttonbird

          It depends on what you consider to be the role of government. In this case there is no redundancy of practical effect (trucking fuel from Marsden Point to Auckland isn’t possible) despite National having been warned. The question is whether such an important piece of infrastructure should be left to the private sector.

          Vector/Entrust (AECT) is collectively or publicly owned given it’s importance in maintaining lines infrastructure.

          Honestly you can’t just leave important stuff to the private sector because by definition they will always look to cut corners. A bit like how NZ has been run for the last 9 years.

          • Antoine

            Are you suggesting that the pipeline (or its owner) should have been nationalised? or …?

            • Muttonbird

              For the sake of economic security I think there’s a case for the pipeline to be publicly owned. Or at the very least the private owner should have to meet the appropriate regulatory requirements for providing secure, fail-safe fuel service to Auckland.

        • tc

          Yes via the regulator as this is essential infrastructure so issues like redundancy, maintenance and adequate DRP/ RTS plans is their focus.

          National have been hobbling/gutting the regulators across the boards since 2008.

          • Antoine

            WHich regulator is this and what should they have done in this case?

            • Antoine

              I notice the MBIE report linked by Rosemary below does _not_ recommend building another backup terminal to provide multiple redundancy as “there are more cost effective contingencies that provide a similar back up capability at a much lower cost especially when considering the likelihood of such an event”

              • Muttonbird

                I guess they didn’t expect Judith Collins’ company to be digging around for Kauri next to the badly marked pipeline.

              • Brokenback

                and went on to say this
                “Increasing the capacity of the oil trucking fleet would enable transport of supplies around disruptions in the local supply chain,” the report said.

                “However, our estimates suggest that enlarging the New Zealand trucking fleet to cater for an event that may never happen is less cost effective than relying on shipping additional vehicles and bringing drivers from Australia or elsewhere to meet short term emergencies if they arise.”

            • Muttonbird

              Secured the the land above the pipeline would have been a good start.

              • Antoine

                The regulator should have bought the land above the pipeline?

                • tc

                  No lot’s of vital infrastructure runs through land owned privately like transmission lines, caveats exist on land titles that allow for maintenance/inspection.

                • Muttonbird

                  Evidently the markers were overgrown and that there was a digger there at all means the land around the pipeline wasn’t secure. As tc says, proper regulation is required because the private company obviously isn’t capable.

                  Good governments protect vital infrastructure.

                  • Antoine

                    So what will Labour do about this? (Given that the infrastructure weakness stil exists)

                    Also what will Labour do about similar points of weakness elsewhere in the country?


                    • Antoine

                      Today’s Stuff headline: “National warned, but so was Labour”

                      What I was thinking overnight is that the Clark government did exactly what the Key government did about this, which I suspect is also what the Ardern government will do, which is: nothing. Which I suspect is the correct thing to do. Leave the two companies involved to make their own arrangements.

                    • Muttonbird

                      The Ardern government? Have you given up already?

                    • Antoine

                      What do you mean given up? I voted Green and am hoping for and expecting a change of Government.

                      Do you agree with my prediction of what Lab/Greens will do about this pipeline thing?


                • Muttonbird

                  Here you go.

                  Given its vital importance to the economy – as witnessed by the massive disruption to flights arriving and departing Auckland once the impact of fuel shortages intensified – it is astonishing that a digger was able to work in what ought to be a secure and protected corridor.


        • Draco T Bastard

          Both publicly owned companies?

          Auckland Airport was sold into private hands decades ago.
          NZ Refining may still be an SOE. Hard to say from their about.

          Does the Govt properly have a role in this matter?

          Yes because, as Shaw points out, it’s critical infrastructure. As such it shouldn’t be in private hands. But even then the government should be regulating to ensure a weeks worth of supply at the airport at all times for situations like this. Somebody would probably complain about having a tank farm there though.

          • s y d

            From Wikipedia……

            “Reform and privatization
            Following the election of the reformist Fourth Labour Government in 1984, the Petroleum Sector Reform Act was introduced. This Act deregulated the petroleum industry, with 1,500 workers expected to lose their jobs. The Refinery assets were transferred by the Government to the New Zealand Refining Company Limited, a consortium of the five major petrol retailers. BP, Mobil and Z Energy are currently major shareholders. The Government injected $80 million to enable the company to adapt to the new environment. A major efficiency drive was launched to cut operating costs.”

            So, after billions spent to develop the refinery, it was handed over with a wad of cash to sweeten the deal.

        • reason

          Fostering and having Government ministers benefit from a cowboy industry………. with 80% non-compliance of paperwork and regulations ….. Describes the Governments role in the Kauri looting industry ….https://publicaddress.net/envirologue/swamp-monsters-the-looting-of-northlands/

          Letting the cowboys run loose is what the Nacts do ….

          Disasters and stuff ups inevitably follow …… ie, Pike River Mine ….. or digging in areas around fuel pipe lines …..

          Your not a good one when it comes to thinking are you Antoine? ….. but its always a pleasure to educate others through your simple mindedness.

          • ropata

            We are still paying the price of the Nat inspired Leaky Homes crisis.

            Ideological deregulation and discarding of apprenticeships has borne bitter fruit for average kiwis

            But the rich have profited handsomely, so that’s all that matters to Key and English

          • Antoine

            > Your not a good one when it comes to thinking are you Antoine? ….. but its always a pleasure to educate others through your simple mindedness.

            This seems very Buddhist somehow


      • cleangreen 13.1.3


        “i guess the NATS could just announce they are building another expensive road to nowhere.”

        They are doing that virtually every day now! even in all provinces who need rail to return not more bloody roads!!!!

        The National party will kill us all.

      • marty mars 13.1.4

        This has been top of the news for a while now – Jacinda laying down the truth – game changer I think as long as she can handle the next expected lines such as, ‘scare mongering, doesn’t understand said with a patronising look and smarmy tone, hysterical, too emotional,’ I suspect Bill and the gnats will regret going that way.

  14. Rosemary McDonald 14

    Has anyone else had a gander at the report from MOBIE?


    Managing such an event as this involves either allowing trucks to exceed the maximum weight limit or increasing fuel tax to force reduction in consumption.

    Our Leaders will be counting the cost of ignoring yet another report they commissioned.

  15. Brokenback 15

    The good news/dirty tricks dept. are on full alert here.
    Trying to keep a lid on damage whilst early voting rolls on.
    Big potential for influencing the critical greater Auckland Vote

    There’s less than 36 hours 95 Super petrol stocks left in auckland and 91 & diesel stocks low.
    Priority is to cart Jet Fuel to maintain the 30% allocation to airlines but this requires every available fuel tank truck in the north island and cleaning and retro-fitting the filtration equipment necessary for the safety /integrity of transferring Jet A1.
    Diesel will be second priority to maintain commercial transport.
    Petrol is down the list of priority.

    Auckland’s economic clout and the fact that all elections are won or lost there dictates priority of supply so Waikato/Bay of Plenty/Northland will be destinations of lowest priority for all fuels from Marsden Point and Mt Maunganui.

    Rank stupidity is glaring in the 2012 Report.
    “The report said storing oil in special tanks in case of an emergency would not be cost effective.

    Nor would having a second pipeline on standby ready for an accident that might never happen.

    “Increasing the capacity of the oil trucking fleet would enable transport of supplies around disruptions in the local supply chain,” the report said.

    “However, our estimates suggest that enlarging the New Zealand trucking fleet to cater for an event that may never happen is less cost effective than relying on shipping additional vehicles and bringing drivers from Australia or elsewhere to meet short term emergencies if they arise.”

    Picture this ,if you can , foreign truck drivers ,fresh off the boat[ no plane seats available] with fasttrack licenses ,operating around the clock at the wheel of 50 tonne fuel tankers over the Brenderwyn and Kaimai hills [ arguably some of the most technically demanding drives in NZ].

    You couldn’t write a better farce if you tried.

    • cleangreen 15.1

      true that is, and just when they have also stirred up the farmers!!!

      But a think this reation from Paula Bennett this morning was putrid as she disowned the blame by saying it was the privat company’s fault to look after the opie not Governments!!!!!!

      “all care and no resposibility” is now owned exlusively by the National Party 100%.

    • Picture this ,if you can , foreign truck drivers ,fresh off the boat[ no plane seats available] with fasttrack licenses ,operating around the clock at the wheel of 50 tonne fuel tankers over the Brenderwyn and Kaimai hills [ arguably some of the most technically demanding drives in NZ].

      And they wouldn’t have the tankers for the imported drivers to drive available either.

      Really, these people seem to think that all the physical stuff just appears out of thin air when needed if they flash enough dollars around.

    • KJT 15.3

      I suspect the pipelines from the port to Wiri are no longer operational. Otherwise they could have solved the problem with a few coastal tanker loads.

  16. ianmac 16

    What is aviation fuel: “Jet fuel is a clear to straw-colored fuel, based on either an unleaded kerosene (Jet A-1), or a naphtha-kerosene blend (Jet B). It is similar to diesel fuel, and can be used in either compression ignition engines or turbine engines.”

  17. ianmac 17

    Has this been said? “A digger trying to lift swamp kauri damaged the oil pipeline from Marsden Pt to Auckland.”

    • Rosemary McDonald 17.1

      “Has this been said? “A digger trying to lift swamp kauri damaged the oil pipeline from Marsden Pt to Auckland.””


      5.00 am

      “An initial investigation by the Marsden Point oil refinery has found a digger driver searching for swamp kauri caused the critical damage to the fuel pipeline months ago.

      When the pipeline burst on Thursday, the response has included finding out how the damage had been caused.

      A source familiar with the situation said refinery bosses had found a swamp kauri hunter had been working in the same area as the damaged pipe around three months earlier.

      In his efforts to remove a log 20 metres long and one metre wide, the digger struck the fuel line.

      It did not rupture but laid the seed for the failure that would follow.

      While the route of the pipeline is clearly marked with warning signs, the source said that the signs closest to where the pipeline ruptured where overgrown and could not be clearly seen.

      The digger driver moved on and months passed until Thursday, when refinery bosses increased the pressure in the pipeline which forces fuel to Auckland.

      The increase in pressure was too much for the damaged pipeline and it ruptured, spewing fuel into a peat swamp.”

      and later 8.15 am


      “Fuel supplies to Auckland have been disrupted after a digger working on a farm damaged the pipeline between Auckland Airport and the Marsden Point refinery.

      Refining New Zealand chief executive Sjoerd Post has apologised for the problems it has caused. He tells us reports of a kauri digger hitting the pipe three months ago is “fake news”.

      “A digger has scraped over it, that’s the only fact we have.” Anything further is supposition, he says. ”

      So…a digger (involved with swamp kauri or not) did damage the pipe.

      Suspicious I am that someone was keen to remove “kauri” from the narrative.

      • tc 17.1.1

        “refinery bosses had found a swamp kauri hunter had been working in the same area as the damaged pipe around three months earlier….” so it seems they didn’t do an adequate inspection as to damage.

        Was a PIG (Pipeline Inspection Gantry) sent down to compare readings from the last time in that section.

        The x-ray/gamma ray imaging should show any new damage or did they just go ‘she’ll be right mate’ rather than use some science and facts.

        • ianmac

          Hang on. This was a private company and as English says, “Private does things much better.” 🙂

        • Andre

          The wording of the quote sounds like they weren’t aware of the swamp kauri hunter at the time. It appears it’s only after the failure and they’ve started investigating what might have caused it that they’ve become aware of the kauri hunter.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Yep, that’s what I’m getting as well. Digger driver hits the pipe, maybe reported it to his boss but it didn’t go any further than that.

            • joe90

              If you hooked it at right angles you’d know it but I’ve repaired dozens of cables damaged by machines digging alongside, parallel, where the operators are blissfully unaware of the damage they’ve done.

              • Macro

                Exactly I’ve worked alongside some of these guys too. Digger operators are by and large blissfully unaware of any damage they cause… I would say that in this particular case however they knew that :
                a. they shouldn’t be digging anywhere near where they obviously were, and
                b. They knew they had hit the pipe because they damaged the insulation around it not the actual pipe, and
                c. thought that because they were still alive! and there wasn’t any damage to the pipe as far as they could see, they had got away with it, and
                d. covered it up quickly and left it at that!

              • Missing cutting Cables, yeah, I can see that. Repaired a few of them myself. Been they when they were cut as well.

                Can’t really see missing hitting a pipe though. That tends to have the effect of having the digger tilt.

                • joe90

                  I’ve been on site when a machine stripped the armour off 33kv 300mm paper lead cable and the operator was totally unaware.

                • Macro

                  We were on sight a few years back – setting out the upgrade of Fanshaw Street ( the section that runs past Victoria Park coming of the motorway from the Auckland Harbour Bridge) The pavement outside the Microsoft Building was to be dug for new services, curb realignment, etc. The digger had opened a reasonable sized hole … when down came a guy! “Stop! That’s where the cable for NZ’s connection the Internet is!” Ooooops. No one had informed the contractor, or the on sight supervisor of the fact. So the digger was sent away, and it was picks and shovels for the guys for a few days.
                  Interestingly that part of the City was all “reclaimed” land in the 1890’s and was rubble and and anything else they could dump to raise the ground above sea level. You knew when the tide was in because any hole more than 500mm deep would fill with sea water on high tide. By 2050 that part of the city could well be inundated.

      • Sacha 17.1.2

        Interesting aerial photos in this story show little other reason for a digger to be operating at that site: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/96941407/digger-scraped-and-cut-crucial-jet-fuel-pipeline-affecting-thousands-of-auckland-airport-travellers

        • joe90

          little other reason for a digger to be operating at that site

          Yup, the ditch in the first image makes it quite clear, drained swamp.

        • Rosemary McDonald

          My man and I have been looking at google earth trying to figure out exactly where this drama is taking place. We are familiar with the area…especially where the pipeline begins at the refinery and south towards the GAS service station along 15A that featured prominently in earlier photos. Later photos suggest that the damage site is further east….which figures since the actual path of the pipeline….according to the map….is further east.


          Very confusing…and clearly the only solution is to go up and have a look for ourselves…we were heading up there tomorrow anyway. 🙂

          The other thing that struck me, having seen first hand the resources that the swamp kauri hunters deploy in the Far Far North to source their much desired product, is that they seem to be hunting closer to their storage and ultimate shipping -out zone.


  18. mauī 18

    A lot of infrastructure/systems are really efficient but incredibly brittle. I’ve heard that a major disruption to NZ’s fuel supply and the supermarkets would be out of stock in 3 days with trucks not running. Apparently this was close to happening in the UK in 2000 when the truckies went on strike.

    • greywarshark 18.1

      Maybe this election will prove to have been Just in Time!

    • Exkiwiforces 18.2

      Yes Maui,

      You are correct, a lot of NZ of infrastructure/ logistic systems are really efficient but incredibly brittle and that is because todays approach to the above is all about “just in time logistics”. In layman’s terms it’s means minimal spares, repairs, minimal holding of bulk food stuffs and liquids etc by the end user.

      NZ is meant to hold 90 days of Petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) as require by the International Energy Agency (IEA), but in fact NZ only holds 30 days worth of POL within NZ and the other 60 days is held over overseas. I don’t think many NZer’s realize how brittle NZ’s infrastructure/ logistic systems are when it’s put under stress.

      • tc 18.2.1

        Recall 97 and a power starved CBD in akl ? Up steps National’s Bradford reformed best practice Electricity model which replaced the NZED.

        Took it over 15 years to get another HV supply from a diverse national Grid exit (Wairau Rd) for our largest cities power into Hobson Street using the harbour bridge to carry the HV cable.

        Did that serve the nations best interests ? The old NZED would’ve nailed that in a third of the time probably, all hail the private market and it’s efficiency /sarc.

  19. Ross 19

    I imagine Steven Joyce is contemplating saying the following:

    “Labour Supporter Deliberately Sabotages Key Pipeline To Make Govt Look Bad”

  20. Ross 20

    Marsden Point oil refinery was in the news in 2015 over its miserly pay offer to workers.


  21. Imodium 21

    Marsden Point Refinery would be one of the highest paying companies in NZ .

  22. Imodium 22

    Its an extremely long stretch to blame the government for the ruptured pipeline. Rather than spend millions on a dual pipeline as a backup the pipeline owners RNZ opted to rely on road and sea transport as backup – this was obviously how it was done pre -pipeline installation .

    • Muttonbird 22.1

      In light of this failure it’s perfectly reasonable to demand greater oversight and better contingency for what is crucial infrastructure.

      • cleangreen 22.1.1

        1pm RNZ news Bill English said he ‘expects’ National will have another look at the fuel storage issue after this issue and said it will consider if fuel tax needs to be devoted to any upgrades???

        So English is suggesting more fuel taxes now and has suggested we will pay for the private company operation that Paula Bennett said this morning was the responsibility of the private company and not Government?????

        These National MPs talk ot of both sides of their mouth at once!!!!

    • Stuart Munro 22.2

      Not if it was Collins.

    • Brokenback 22.3

      True , but coastal shipping has been completely out of favour for far too long.
      Not a workable option in this scenario , as will become glaringly obvious over the coming weeks.
      The marine fuel terminal in Auckland was removed to create the “Wyndham Quarter”.

      I’ve searched, to no avail , for definitive costs for the re -establishment of Rail & Road links through Kaikoura.
      It beggars belief that whatever considerable sums are being spent are so easily committed when there’s even a small probability of further destructive earthquakes.

      Any fool , with half a working brain can see that we’re putting all eggs back in the same basket and no discussion/debate has been forthcoming over RORO shipping between Wellington & Lyttleton.

      • KJT 22.3.1

        Probably because most of the freight is actually between Auckland and Christchurch.

        Road/rail through Cook Strait is not very efficient compared with direct sea freight. And already has several RoRo ships in service.

        The RoRo coastal service elsewhere died, because it couldn’t compete with heavily subsidised opposition from trucking, and much of the transship cargo going on overseas ships, after they were allowed to fill up on NZ coastal cargo.

    • cleangreen 22.4

      Imodium you forgot rail?

      Winston wants the rail link established to the Port and Auckland so moving highly flammable fuel by rail is far more secure than by road right?


  23. Exkiwiforces 23

    There are some really good discussion papers on the Climate change in Defence Academy of the United Kingdom at we used on a couple of courses I’m on in regards to operations and planning.

    Was going to post all the links in regards climate, but someone might have got the shits with me posting a large number of links?


    Happy reading.

    Here’s a couple of papers


  24. Ad 24

    NZDF called out to help redirect fuel supplies, but had to cancel their participation in the big Singapore exercise to do it:

    :Energy and resources minister Judith Collins said the biggest concern was around the lack of aviation supplies.

    There was no issue around a shortage of fuel for motorists at the stage, she said.

    Collins said most flights were going ahead, but some airlines had reduced schedules for the next week due to the fuel shortage.

    The Defence Force had been tasked with using the naval tanker HMNZS Endeavour to move diesel fuel from Marsden Point to other parts of the country.

    To do this, the Defence Force had cancelled a major exercise in Singapore to save fuel and was providing up to 20 additional tanker drivers to assist local operators.”

    Great to see NZDF doing something really practical.

    Looking forward to the Opposition properly exploiting this incompetence.

    • lprent 24.1

      This is even more interesting. This is apparently the only Kauri recovery company in Ruakaka

    • Glenn 24.2

      ‘The Endeavour has completed “one-million miles in the sea”, Doolan said, and has supplied 210 million litres of diesel in its life.

      About eight years ago, the International Maritime Organisation changed the rules, requiring new vessels to be two-hulled, or “double-skinned”.

      Doolan said in order to “tick the box”, the Endeavour had its outer tanks filled with water, thus reducing its 7500 tonne fuel capacity by about 50 per cent, but extending its life for a few more years to meet its 30 year life expectancy.’

      In December, the Endeavour will be sailed to a shipyard for “proper disposal” and replaced by the $500 million HMNZS Aotearoa.

      A “public day” and charter boat parade at Port Taranaki to say a final goodbye to the Endeavour is in the works.

      While Doolan and his crew were looking forward to the new vessel, which will be the largest-ever ship in the RNZN fleet, he said it would not be operational until 2020.


  25. Rosemary McDonald 25

    And here….https://www.nzgeo.com/stories/swamp-kauri/

    All you need to know about the swamp kauri industry from NZ Geographic.

    (Make a cuppa…it’s a long read. 🙂 )

  26. Muttonbird 26

    In true Ad tradition could I ask for all people in Auckland who want a change in government to fill their cars up to the brim tomorrow if possible.

    This may (or may not) put major pressure on fuel reserves in Auckland right before the GE on Saturday thereby causing embarrassment to the hands-off National Party.


    *not a real hashtag.

  27. Muttonbird 27

    Further evidence important infrastructure should not be left in the hands of private companies.


  28. Rosemary McDonald 28

    Late in on the Herald is this…http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11923669

    “Digging at the site of the critical fuel pipeline was identified as an “exploratory” search for swamp kauri the day before the rupture happened, according to an industry insider with stories of the extraordinary wealth attached to excavating the buried logs.

    Northland’s Milton Randell was driving past the site of the pipeline rupture near Ruakaka, just south of Whangarei, last Wednesday, saw the earthworks and believed he was seeing the signs of a swamp kauri hunt.

    Randell has 40 years experience in digging swamp kauri out of the ground and would be one of the most experienced to have worked in the industry.”

    So much for ‘months ago’ as reported earlier.

    Methinks we’ll never know the truth.

    • weka 28.1

      It’s possible both happened – a digger scraping the pipe some months ago and damaging but not rupturing it, and then more excavation last week before the pipe broke. But I tend to agree, too much conflicting information and no enough people to trust.

  29. Ross 29

    Bill English is bullshitting again. He says it was too expensive to build a second pipeline. He ignores the fact that MBIE provided the Government with several options in October 2011. A second pipeline was one option but also the most expensive. Another option was to increase the quantity of fuel supplied by tankers. That option would produce an extra 515 million litres of jet fuel each year. The cost? A mere $1.9 million.

    This Government wasted $22 million on a flag referendum but apparently can’t afford a miserly $1.9 million to protect itself from this debacle. Rod Oram is right – we need new policies and new leaders.


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