Contact boss Steve Barrett and Genesis chief Murray Jackson said the appointments signalled an important step forward in national electricity security planning.
"This study is an important step in identifying New Zealand's options in the event that no large domestic gas fields are discovered and that a gap between total energy demand and available supply occurs from around 2008-2010, as the Maui gas field runs out.
"Our two companies have a common interest in ensuring that the country's future energy needs are met in the most cost-effective way and the appointments are an important step in ascertaining the best way forward," said the men today.
Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) and Poten & Partners (PP) would be lead advisors into the logistical and market implications of importing LNG into New Zealand.
KBR - a Halliburton subsidiary - would be the primary consultant to undertake an engineering feasibility study, in collaboration with New Zealand-based engineering consultants Maunsell (formerly Meritec) and environmental consultants Boffa Miskell.
KBR's global infrastructure division, which will lead the engineering infrastructure study, is headquartered in Adelaide; while LNG technology will be provided by KBR's onshore division based in Houston.
Maunsell and Boffa Miskell will work on several aspects of the study, including pipeline routing and environmental planning.
The study, scheduled for completion by mid-2004, would seek to identify and cost alternative sites for an LNG receiving facility in New Zealand, with particular attention to environmental and consenting issues.
"KBR's experience in delivering LNG receiving terminals across a broad spectrum of project sizes and concepts allows Contact and Genesis to determine the feasibility and cost of an LNG terminal in New Zealand," said Barrett and Jackson.
Although the study would not commit either Contact or Genesis to importing LNG, it would enable any decisions on LNG to be made in a balanced and informed manner.
The brief of New York-headquartered energy commodity consultant Poten & Partners would be to act as LNG market advisor and to advise on how imported LNG could be integrated with existing and future indigenous gas supplies.
"Poten & Partners will look specifically at the optimum capacity of an LNG receiving terminal and associated storage to ensure a reliable and secure gas supply," Jackson and Barrett said.
"They will also advise on the required procurement and shipping plans that support the volume and timing requirements necessary to ensure supply security."
Last October Contact and Genesis formed an alliance to explore options to ensure New Zealand's future generation needs would be met in the most cost-effective and responsible way possible.
"This study is all about being able to make an informed decision when we have to. To that end we are also, independently, looking at other options to meet the 2008-2010 energy 'gap'," Barrett and Jackson concluded.
Contact spokesperson Pattrick Smellie said his company had already done a preliminary study into coal - "probably that's the main one, but there is also geothermal and a bit of hydro". Genesis was also pursuing options for wind farms.