Z Energy stations without fuel rises to 13

Customers line up at the Z Energy petrol station in Anderson's Bay Rd, Dunedin. Photo by Gerard O...
Z Energy said it would be able to replenish the fuel today and there was no cause for concern. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.

Thirteen Z Energy service stations are out of 95 octane petrol as a result of the ruptured Marsden Pt fuel pipeline, the company says.

This morning just four Z stations were out of the premium fuel, but this afternoon it said that number had more than tripled.

Z Energy said it would be able to replenish the fuel today and told motorists there was no cause for concern.

Z's corporate communications manager, Jonathan Hill, said in the first days after a pipeline from the Marsden Point Refinery ruptured, the company concentrated on delivering 91 octane petrol and diesel to Auckland.

"As a result of this deliberate focus . . .  service stations ran out of 95 octane petrol yesterday. There may be a few more today but all grades of fuel are being trucked into the city and there is no cause for concern."

Air NZ said in an email to customers on Monday night that it was "extremely disappointed" at the fuel shortage.

So far today, 28 flights in and out of Auckland International Airport have been disrupted because of the crisis.

An airport spokeswoman said 22 were domestic flights and six were international.

"Unfortunately Air New Zealand is experiencing disruption to services as a result of this issue including a number of flight cancellations as we work to consolidate passenger loads and minimise fuel usage," Air New Zealand said. "We are working with affected customers to offer alternative flight options."

The company said some long-haul flights to and from Asia and North America were having to refuel at Pacific or Australian airports to alleviate pressure on fuel supplies in Auckland.

Twelve of the domestic flights affected today are JetStar and the others are Air New Zealand, Virgin, Thai or Singapore Airlines.

The affected trans-Tasman flights were to either Sydney or Melbourne.

Northland Regional Council has been carrying out daily checks of the damaged pipeline since the spill on Thursday.

Despite up to an estimated 80,000 litres of fuel having leaked, the council was not aware of any significant environmental damage, a spokesman said today.

"This is because of the prompt response, containment and recovery measures. The land-based location of the incident - on farmland close to the refinery - also makes the clean-up/recovery operation more straightforward."

A council compliance manager was satisfied with how the clean-up and repair operation was being carried out, he said.

Samples from up to six private groundwater bores will be taken today but the council was confident they would not be contaminated.

Consideration of a prosecution wouldn't begin until once the clean-up had finished.

The pipeline leak, caused by a digger 8km south of the Marsden Pt refinery in Northland, was discovered last Thursday, and this week was expected to affect about 2000 travellers a day as jet fuel is rationed.

Defence Force assists

Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins has enlisted the help of the Defence Force to free industry resources by sending the naval tanker HMNZS Endeavour to move diesel fuel from Marsden Pt to other parts of the country.

She said yesterday fuel supplies were "sufficient" for Auckland motorists.

The Defence Force will also provide up to 20 tanker drivers to help local operators manage their increased workload, cancelling a major exercise with Singapore to preserve fuel. It has also deferred non-essential training and is investigating refuelling smaller commuter aircraft at Whenuapai Airforce Base.

Hill said the affected tanks at their stations will be topped up in the next 24 hours.

Hill said following progress from government around trucking limits Z was looking forward to being able to further expand trucking of all grades into Auckland.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern yesterday slammed the Government over the crisis, stating they had known there were risks to the security of supply into Auckland from the pipeline in Marsden Pt but had taken only minor initiatives in 2012.

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