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New Zealand’s sole refinery at Marsden Point has begun a Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) phase to further develop its plans to convert the facility into an import terminal.

As previously reported by Bunkerspot, back in June, in a progress update on its strategic review which was launched in mid-April, Refining NZ said that its near-term focus was to ‘simplify’ its refining operations to cut costs. It also disclosed that it was evaluating a ‘possible future staged transition to an import terminal’ for its Marsden Point operation.

In an operational update issued yesterday (19 November), the refiner announced it had entered into the FEED phase which would include estimating the costs of conversion and a time schedule.

Refining NZ said that discussions regarding the potential conversion to an import terminal are continuing with customers, including Exxon Mobil, which has paused its dispute in relation to the refinery’s simplification plans.

As reported, in September the energy major issued a notice of dispute under its processing agreement with Refining NZ in relation to the refiner’s plans to change operations at the facility.

In this week’s update, Refining NZ said that ‘good progress’ is being made on the implementation of the refinery simplification plans which will enable the company to extend cash neutral operations at the Fee Floor into 2021.

Negotiations with its workforce have been completed and around 90 employees will leave the company between November and Q1 2021.

The refiner’s net debt was reduced by $17 million to $232 million as at the end of October, due to savings realised from s six-week temporary refinery shutdown in July/August and proceeds of asset sales.


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