The massive $365 million project to lift the Marsden Pt oil refinery's processing capacity by about 3 million barrels a year should be finished by December, with $303 million already spent on the scheme.

Te Mahi Hou - a $365 million project to create a Continuous Catalyst Regeneration Platformer at the refinery that will add about US$1.10 a barrel in profits and provide 80 per cent of all New Zealand's fuel needs - is around 85 per cent complete, Refining NZ spokesman Greg McNeill said.

The news comes as the company recorded a $10 million profit last year after a loss the previous year.

"We are into the final throes of construction and are due to enter the commissioning phase later in the year. The project is on track - and on budget - to complete in December 2015," Mr McNeill said.


About 300 people are working on the project, with the photograph (above), showing, from left, the air cooler pipe rack, furnace and reactor with CCR modules behind.

About $147 million of the budget of the Refining NZ project will be spent in Northland.

Mr McNeill said Te Mahi Hou would lift refinery processing capacity by about 3 million barrels a year to a total of about 44.5 million barrels, increase gasoline production from 11 to 13 million barrels a year and reduce CO2 emissions by about 120,000 tonnes a year.

During the peak of construction Te Mahi Hou was expected to add 1.33 per cent to Northland's GDP, which was $3377 million in the year to March 2012, Mr McNeill said.