The first of the fuel is beginning to flow through into Auckland as repairs on the broken pipe are completed - with just two international flights cancelled today.

The past week has seen thousands of passengers' travels disrupted after a burst section of pipe prevented fuel passing through the vital Ruakaka-Auckland line.

Today, Refining New Zealand (RNZ) confirmed fuel was flowing, with the first batch having arrived into the tanks at Wiri this morning.

CEO Sjoerd Post said it would take another 30 hours to get the fuel to Auckland Airport, with the first of it expected to be ready to load on planes next week.

Fuel customers of Refining New Zealand said they welcomed the successful completion of repairs to the Refinery to Auckland Pipeline, with fuel now flowing to the Wiri Fuel Terminal in South Auckland.

Seven million litres of jet fuel is the first major fuel parcel to be pumped. As is standard practice, jet fuel must settle for 30 hours before it can be pumped to the airport, at which point it must be retested and then certified for use.


Last week, RNZ spokesman Greg McNeill said examinations of the corroded, leaking section of the pipe in-ground indicated a digger was the likely cause of the damage.

The leak was discovered on September 14, after instruments showed a drop in pressure in the volume going through the oil pipeline from Marsden Point.

The rupture of the pipeline near Marsden Point Rd is believed to have been caused by corrosion following damage from a digger. Northern Advocate/Michael Cunningham
The rupture of the pipeline near Marsden Point Rd is believed to have been caused by corrosion following damage from a digger. Northern Advocate/Michael Cunningham

The refinery's customers today welcomed the news that fuel was being pumped but said in a statement that safety would be the "absolute priority".

"Industry will be typically rigorous on ensuring all standard steps are taken and all controls are in place to ensure jet fuel meets global quality and safety standards before being released to the airport," spokesman Andrew McNaught said.

Mobil and BP have also been transporting jet fuel out of the new truck loading facility at Whangarei over the weekend, with Z beginning tomorrow. Trucking jet fuel will continue until the industry's stocks are high enough for "resilience", the statement said.

Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins said it was "fantastic" to see the continual progress that was being made to repair the damaged pipe.

She said meanwhile work was being done to ensure fuel was still getting to where it needed to be, including the ship Matuku transporting fuel to Auckland.

"The Matuku has now offloaded 1.5 million litres of jet fuel and 7.9 million litres of diesel, at Auckland's Wynyard Wharf.

"Three trucks are going between Marsden Point and Auckland Airport twice daily, with five trucks expected on the road on Monday. More than 140,000 litres of jet fuel was trucked to Auckland Airport yesterday, with 151,000 litres expected to arrive today."

She said airlines were continuing to operate their networks on 50 per cent fuel allocation from Auckland with "increasing stability and minimal disruption to passengers".

Today Collins said the number of flight cancellations were trending downwards with no domestic flight cancellations, five international flight cancellations yesterday and only two expected today in relation to the fuel shortage.

Travellers are advised to contact their airlines to check for any potential flight disruptions.