Natural gas keeping the lights on for New Zealand

New Zealand’s natural gas industry is continuing production through the nation-wide shutdown providing critical energy including electricity to homes, hospitals and essential services.

“It’s very reassuring that natural gas is still flowing at a time when New Zealand needs it more than ever,” says Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ) Chief Executive John Carnegie.

“New Zealanders need natural gas for cooking, heating and to keep essential industries like food production running.

“It’s also crucial for electricity generation when demand is high and renewable sources are low. This is even more important as we head into cooler weather.

“It’s pleasing that a number of major industrial gas users remain operating, playing a crucial role in providing overall system stability. Together with gas producers they’re helping achieve security of supply for electricity generation and vital export production.

A huge amount of work and planning has gone into protecting site crews so they can keep energy flowing. Some of the measures include:

  • keeping shift teams separate from each other;
  • checking temperatures of staff coming onto site;
  • keeping safe distances at site; and
  • reducing staff levels down to levels as low as reasonably practical to run the plants. Companies now have significantly less staff on site to deliver essential gas to New Zealand.

“The health and welfare of people is our highest priority and the industry, its staff and contractors take this responsibility very seriously.”

Oil production by itself is considered non-essential and certain fields have closed or are in the process of doing this safely and responsibly. To the extent that associated liquids must be produced as a consequence of natural gas production, then oil production is permitted.

“New Zealand’s oil and gas sector will be ready to swing back into full production once we defeat this virus, generating exports and royalties that will be vital in our economic recovery.”