NZ Energy figures paint grim picture

New Zealand's latest energy statistics paint an almost perilous picture of increasing energy use amid continuing declining domestic production of oil and gas.
NZ Energy figures paint grim picture NZ Energy figures paint grim picture NZ Energy figures paint grim picture NZ Energy figures paint grim picture NZ Energy figures paint grim picture

Energy Minister Pete Hodgson today released the latest edition of the Ministry of Economic Development's Energy Data File, a comprehensive biannual volume of energy statistics which includes statistics on energy supply, demand and energy prices for the year to March 2003.

It shows total remaining developed gas reserves, of almost 1500 Petajoules, only being sufficient to last this country for a little over six years. A 900 PJ Pohokura gas development, plus several other small fields, would ensure New Zealand did not completely run out of gas until about 2013, however. This again highlights the drastic need for urgent exploration to discover more gas or face costly LNG imports or increased coal usage.

Total primary energy supply, which includes imports of oil and oil products grew by 3.3% to 786 PJ, while total domestic energy consumption increased by 6.3% to 509 PJ, due to a significant increase in domestic transport energy use.

The volume of crude oil imports increased by 9% on the previous year, while domestic production of crude oil, condensate and naphtha declined by 4%. New Zealand's self-sufficiency in oil is now only 28%, 3% lower than for the preceding year and substantially lower than the figures of the late 1980s-early 1990s.

Gas production declined a further 6% in the March year, with only 75% coming from Maui instead of the usual 80%.

The Energy File still had petrochemical production (mainly methanol, with some ammonia urea and formaldehyde) accounting for about 40% of total gas production, though this will drop drastically next year when this year's 65% drop in Methanex methanol production is taken into account.

About 41% of gas went into electricity generation and 19% for industrial, commercial and domestic purposes. Gas used for electricity generation (including cogeneration) was 92 PJ, which was about 19% lower than for the previous year when Maui production was ramped up during 2001 cold, dry winter.

New Zealand's remaining gas reserves dropped by 222 PJ to be a gross 1487 PJ by last January _ only a little over six years' reserves at current usage, which was about 237 PJ during 2002.

The Independent Expert's 370 PJ assessment of economically remaining recoverable Maui gas reserves, as at January 2003, was partly offset by some upward revision in Kaimiro and McKee reserves; while 50 PJ of Rimu-Kauri reserves were included in the for the first time.

However, coal production increased by 22% to 4.8 million tonnes, as did electricity generation, which was estimated at 39,971 GWh and 4.5% higher than the previous 12 months, when generation was suppressed due to the winter 2001 savings campaign.

Petrol consumption increased by 2.4%, diesel by 4.3%, fuel oil by 20% and aviation fuel by 38%, with total oil consumption increasing by 6.5%.