The New Zealand Refining Company (NZRC) is marking its 50th
anniversary this evening (Tuesday 4 October) by setting out its
stall as a vital piece of strategic national infrastructure,
calling for more in-depth discussion about the country's energy
strategy and urging greater local investment in its Marsden Point
Chief executive Ken Rivers will make the points at an
anniversary event in the Parliament building in Wellington. He will
promise greater engagement with business and government to explore
likely global fuel supply scenarios, how the country's energy
strategy fits with these, and the role NZRC will play in preserving
the country's energy independence.
"For years we've been quietly tucked away near Whangarei,
focusing on being technically excellent at boiling oil," he said
today. "But, with the global oil sector changing rapidly and around
40 percent of this country's energy demand met by oil products, we
will have an increasingly strategic role to play in meeting New
Zealand's future energy needs and helping safeguard her national
This was a vital role that needed to be better understood by
legislators, the investment community and a wide range of other
stakeholders, Rivers said.
NZRC's facility at Marsden Point in Northland is the country's
only refinery and enjoys a reputation as one of Asia Pacific's
safest and most reliable. It supplies all of the country's jet
fuel, three quarters of all diesel, around half of all petrol, 75 -
85 percent all the bitumen used in roading, and all its fuel
The refinery aims to be New Zealand's supplier of choice for oil
products and currently competes with refineries across Asia and the
Pacific. It seeks to provide between 50 and 80 percent of New
Zealand's fuel needs by being the most competitive source of supply
in terms of reliability, cost and environmental footprint.
The company has invested significantly in infrastructure and
capacity development to achieve this. In 2005 it upgraded the
refinery in order to remove sulphur from diesel and benzene from
petrol, allowing cleaner fuels to be produced.
In 2009 a $191 million expansion project boosted crude oil
It's currently reviewing a $400-500 million project designed to
increase substantially the refinery's share of the domestic motor
gasoline (mogas) market. Investment in new process units would
increase its reliability and throughput, and increase New Zealand's
self-reliance for high-quality transport fuel products. An
investment proposal is to be presented to the NZRC's Board in the
first quarter of next year.
"There's no better way to secure New Zealand's future fuel
security than by investing in solid infrastructure and we're
certain there's an appetite for that out there," Rivers said.
He also expressed eagerness to broaden NZRC's 4,000-strong
shareholder base to help ensure greater financial and strategic
stability. Existing large shareholders include four of the
company's largest customers; BP New Zealand, Mobil Oil, Chevron New
Zealand and Z Energy.
"We've seen New Zealanders take a greater stake in this
country's energy infrastructure with Infratil and the Guardians of
New Zealand Superannuation investing in the refinery through Z
Energy," Rivers said. "We know Kiwi investors are looking for
stable, secure and enduring investment opportunities so this is
something we'd like to see more of, as and when shares become
As part of this drive to better engage with stakeholders and the
community about NZRC's place in the country's energy strategy, and
to attract investment from a wider range of shareholders, Rivers
will this evening unveil new branding that will underline the
company's role as a vital part of New Zealand's economic
NZRC will remain formally registered as The New Zealand Refining
Company but will be branded as Refining NZ from 9 October.
The company's logo will change from an abstract design denoting
the crude oil refining process to a spherical shape in red, orange
and yellow comprising a number of hexagons, evoking the honeycomb
pattern of a beehive.
The movement from dark to lighter colours represents the
refining process and the hexagons are for the hydrocarbon at the
base of all the company's products. The way they interlock
represents the role the refinery plays in connecting New
"The new branding captures with elegant simplicity the
complexity of our business and the way it's woven into the
essential fabric of the nation, interconnecting with the basic
stuff of everyday life," Rivers said. "We are truly New Zealand's
energy hive - producing this vital resource for the country."
"We're a confident Kiwi company vital to the economy," Rivers
said. "Our smart thinking, refining know-how and passion are what
will fuel New Zealand's future. Our new branding conveys this