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Energy supply security: New Zealand

Oilfield Technology,


  • Geographical isolation from oil and gas market supply chains creates a particular challenge to oil and gas supply security.
  • New Zealand has relatively abundant domestic fossil fuel resources.
  • Imports are necessary to meet approximately 70% of oil demand.
  • The country’s only refinery supplies more than 80% of the country’s product demand.
  • Oil emergency response policy is based on an escalating series of measures.
  • There is no minimum oil stockholding obligation for industry.
  • New Zealand has enough natural gas production to meet 100% of its demand.
  • There is no LNG import terminal.
  • Curtailment of gas demand is the primary tool in managing significant gas supply emergencies.


  • Oil production, including NGLs, averaged 45 700 bpd in 2012.
  • New Zealand’s rate of production is expected to enter a long term phase of decline in the absence of new discoveries.
  • Total oil demand averaged 151 000 bpd in 2012, 33% of total primary energy supply.
  • Oil demand is expected to increase in the medium term, reaching nearly 159 000 bpd by 2018.
  • Two thirds of oil imports are in the form of crude.
  • The country has a concentrated wholesale market with four main companies.
  • New Zealand’s only refinery, Refining NZ, has a processing capacity of approximately 120 000 bpd.
  • All storage capacity is commercially built and used.
  • As of April 2013, total stocks held by industry in New Zealand stood at approximately 8 million bbls.
  • The New Zealand government has entered into agreements with Australia and the UK and has concluded formal treaties with the Netherlands, Japan and Denmark to enable stocks held in those countries to count towards New Zealand’s IEA obligations.
  • Any decision to release stocks is the responsibility of the Minister of Energy and Resources.
  • The country has a series of demand restraint measures that escalate.
  • Scope for petroleum savings from fuel switching is limited.


  • In 2012, natural gas production was 4.6 billion m3.
  • In 2012, gas demand stood at 4.65 billion m3.
  • A regulated critical contingency management system is in place to achieve the effective management of critical gas outages and other security of supply contingencies without compromising long term security of supply.
  • There are no government mandated requirements on grid owners, system operators or industry participants to hold minimum reserves of natural gas.

Adapted by Claira Lloyd

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