Maui gas outage review finished

Thursday 18 October 2012, 3:18PM

By Phil Heatley


The Government's review of the October 2011 Maui gas pipeline outage and subsequent work shows that steps needed to strengthen the gas system are being taken, Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley said today.

Speaking at the Gas New Zealand Forum in Rotorua, Mr Heatley said that the  Maui pipeline event was a reminder of the importance of gas to the New Zealand economy.

"It was critical that the lessons learned from the outage were captured and acted on, so that gas consumers can be confident in our gas system," he said.

The Government's report brings together the technical information on the outage completed for pipeline owner Maui Development Limited (MDL), the findings of a review into the performance of the contingency system for managing such outages, and information on the effects of the event.

Vector Gas, who operates the pipeline on behalf of MDL, had assessed that the leak was caused by a landslide.

"I am confident that assessments of why the outage occurred are sound and that the actions taken to strengthen the system for managing gas outages are appropriate. They will minimise future outages and help ensure a resilient gas system," Mr Heatley said. Industry co-regulator the Gas Industry Company is also reviewing the critical contingency management arrangements.

"I welcome the steps being taken by MDL to increase its management of risk to the pipeline and its new measures for the ongoing assessment of the pipeline. I have also asked MDL for its plans to manage landslide and erosion risks to gas users," Mr Heatley said.

The Maui gas pipeline was shut down for just over five days in October last year while a leak in the pipe was repaired. At the height of the outage, all non-residential gas users in the top half of the North Island were directed to stop using gas while the repairs were completed.

The outage prompted some gas consumers, such as hospitals and Fonterra, to reassess how they respond to an unplanned disruption to their business and how the supply of gas affects their operations.

The report on the Government's review of the outage is on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's website at