Methanex decision disappointing for Taranaki

The mothballing of a Methanex plant at Waitara Valley is disappointing for the workers, their families and Taranaki, according to the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ).

“This reinforces how important a secure long-term supply of natural gas is to our economy and especially our export industries,” says PEPANZ Chief Executive John Carnegie.

Methanex uses nearly half of New Zealand’s natural gas production to create methanol, which is an essential ingredient used in hundreds of everyday consumer and industrial items. It is also used as a clean burning fuel for shipping.

“Methanol is a perfect example of how natural gas is being used with lower emissions. It would be a disappointing outcome if production increases overseas using coal, which would mean higher global emissions.

“It’s concerning that a number of other major regional industries in New Zealand are also considering their futures.

“Short term issues at the Pohokura field and the mid-to-end of life positions of other gas fields highlight the need for the right conditions to encourage ongoing investment to maintain natural gas supplies.

“As renewable sources just aren’t affordable, reliable or practical enough yet, there is an opportunity for the Government to help by providing more flexibility for petroleum exploration and production permits. This could include extensions of both geographic areas and time limits.

“The need for this is even more urgent given the recent surrender of offshore exploration permits.

“A more secure supply of domestic natural gas would give us more options as we transition, protect jobs and put downward pressure on energy costs for families and businesses.”