Refining NZ has been given a 35-year consent to continue operating the refinery and to operate an import terminal if the company wants to go that way.
As a condition of the consent, Refining NZ has committed to working with the Northland Regional Council ahead of time to plan for an orderly wind-up of operations, should refinery and import terminal operations on site cease in the future, to ensure ongoing compliance with the conditions of the consents.
The refinery is continuing to assess the potential future option to shift to an import terminal only and is working closely with the local, regional and national authorities to ensure any future transition is smooth and the impact on its people and the region is minimised.
RNZ chief executive Naomi James said the company has undertaken an extensive assessment of the environmental impacts associated with continued operations at Marsden Pt, including effects of its activities on the harbour, land, air quality and the surrounding community.
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The publicly-listed company has reduced production from 115,000 barrels a day to about 90,000 - the same level as in 1995 - and has stopped producing bitumen, a residue from petroleum distillation used for road surfacing and roofing.
The country's only oil refinery, at Whangārei's Marsden Pt, posted an annual loss of $198.3 million due to a glut in fuel supplies globally, combined with the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns on refinery output, pipeline fees and plummeting demand for fuel.
About 90 employees were to have been made redundant by the end of the first quarter this year.
James is pleased the significant role the company plays in New Zealand's fuel supply chain will continue on site with the consent.
Through the consent application process, she said Refining NZ also built on its strong partnership with local iwi and involved agreeing conditions that addressed cultural issues along with established mechanisms to ensure both parties were able to work collaboratively.
"As a condition of the resource consent, Refining NZ has also committed to work with the Northland Regional Council ahead of time to plan for an orderly wind-up of operations, should refinery and import terminal operations on site cease in the future, to ensure ongoing compliance with the conditions of the consents.
"Should a decision be taken to proceed with a conversion, no further resource consent application would be required as the consent granted for our current operations covers the activities of an import terminal."