Marsden Point Refinery and security of Fossil Fuel supply in Aotearoa
My letter to Megan Woods MP
Dear Minister Woods,
I'm writing to support the basic message in the "Hundreds of millions of dollars at stake on eve of refinery demolition" article by Simon Terry.
Paying to keep the refinery functional as an emergency backup to hedge against the probable disruption to overseas fuel supply would appear to be a wise move at this time, and in the short to medium term. The build out of tanks to store our internationally agreed 3 months strategic reserve should have happened a decade ago when Z Energy pointed out that we are massively short in this regard. Starting this now is still a good idea, but it will take months to years to accomplish, and does nothing to ameliorate the very real risk from short term disruptions.
The reality of the declining energy profit from our fossil energy extraction systems is no doubt on your mind, and where the article falls short is in its assertion that the refinery is a form of 'perpetual storage', where the refined products can be "produced continuously from domestic crude". As the excellent article "The Age of Energy Disruptions" outlines, it is now very probable that disruptions to energy supply will be increasingly common and severe. And that any reserve such as the fields in Taranaki, have a finite recoverable resource, which is rapidly depleting.
For a different take on this reality, here's another article from the Post Carbon Institute's Richard Heinberg: Islands in an Expanding Sea that makes the broader point from a historical perspective.
I sincerely hope you can take action to manage our short term energy risk. I'm a committee member for the Wise Response society, and we would welcome dialog with you or your ministries about the broader implications of the current turn of events. We have been calling for action around the twin crises of climate change and resource depletion for the last decade, and have made dozens of submissions (such as this one to the Productivity Commission) with seemingly little impact to date. We feel there is still much that could be done, and if only central government would listen to those who have studied the issues deeply, better choices can be made!
Transition Engineer - Schema Consulting