NGC to operate Maui pipeline

NGC is to operate the open access system on the strategic onshore Maui pipeline for owners Shell NZ, Todd Energy and OMV.

Maui Development Limited chairman Ajit Bansal announced the arrangement from Wellington this morning and said the development of the open access operating system would enable other gas industry users to transport non-Maui gas north in the Oaonui-Rotowaro pipeline.

“Currently the pipeline is dedicated to transmission of gas from the Maui gas field. However, with the upcoming development of Taranaki gas fields, including Kupe and Pohokura, together with gas from other fields within the region, greater utilisation will be possible.

The development of the open access system was intended to be substantially complete by mid-2005, with limited early open access expected by the end of this year.

NGC chief executive Phil James said NGC would use a single information platform to operate open access arrangements for both the NGC and Maui pipeline systems.

“The agreement is a significant development in the implementation of new open access gas transportation arrangements for the industry post-Maui. NGC is already the technical operator of the Maui pipeline, and the agreement extends that role to system operator for the Maui open access regime.

NGC had recently completed an industry consultation on the need to redevelop open access arrangements for its own 2200km of transmission pipelines to accommodate significant changes in gas supply.

James said the primary focus in the evolution of open access arrangements had been on more highly sophisticated information technologies for effective pipeline system administration. NGC has engaged leading energy and utilities sector technical experts, CGNZ, an affiliate of Capgemini, to help develop the access regime framework and supporting information systems.

Open access arrangements for the NGC and Maui pipelines had previously been developed in parallel. Considerable cost savings would now available by running these projects simultaneously, and use of a single system and operator would facilitate ease of access, James added.

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