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Gas industry museum

The collection below incorporates a ‘Museum’ comprising a gallery of photos, with explanatory texts by various industry colleagues. It also portrays gas industry scenes, historical milestones and curios. This museum joins the Company’s website, conference presentations and statutory publications as channels for further relaying the New Zealand gas story.

 Museum HuntlyInterconnection

Huntly Interconnection Agreement

In 2005, the Maui Pipeline was converted to an Open Access pipeline governed by the Maui Pipeline Operating Code. This document is the Interconnection Agreement that allowed gas to be delivered to the Huntly Power Station. It is notable as perhaps the only agreement in the world signed by two (different) Murray E. Jacksons.

- Don Gray (formerly of Maui Development)

 Museum MauiPen

Maui Redetermination Pen

This is one of the pens used to sign the Maui redetermination ‘Straw Man’ deal in 2004. This in fact comprised 13 hard-fought agreements, and which are arguably as important as the original development of the Maui field. The agreements were hammered out after an expert determination process and commercial negotiations over more than a year, driven partly by the then Energy Minister Pete Hodgson in sometimes heated Beehive discussions. Perhaps the key ingredient was agreement to move from ‘two dollar gas’ to new market prices. This increased the ‘economically recoverable reserves’ and underpinned ongoing production and exploration today. The Straw Man agreements also saw a remarkable example of how the law can achieve time travel - the industry was given until midnight to complete the agreements or the government's support fell away. When the final heated discussions closed and last signatures were applied at 12.05am, one of the legal advisers hastily drafted a supplementary agreement that deemed the clock turned back to midnight; and the champagne was opened.

- Andrew Knight (formerly of New Zealand Oil & Gas)

 Museum MauiWhitePaper

Maui White Paper

This is an original copy of the Maui White Paper, which set out arrangements for the development of New Zealand's largest gas field and the sale of gas from it. Arguably, it was the Treaty of Waitangi of the gas industry at the time. Gas from the Maui field allowed a ten-fold expansion in New Zealand's natural gas production during the 1980s. The fact that it is in the form of a white paper reminds us of the central role of government, and how this drove not only the development of the field, but also the gas transmission and distribution systems and major plant/industries such as the Synfuels Plant and a residential market that currently has over around 260,000 customers. Although the Maui White Paper's central role has diminished, its terms are still relevant and industry old-timers will still have a copy on the shelf.

- Don Gray (formerly of Maui Development)

 Museum Kapuni

Kapuni Gas Field

Kapuni is recognised as the foundation field for New Zealand’s natural gas industry. A 2007 Dominion Post interview with Sir John Todd coincided with his retirement as Chairman of Todd Corporation, and included the following reflections on how the industry as we know it was initiated:

The upstream business was led by Bryan Todd and the company reviewed the government geological records and history of oil exploration. With new techniques they thought it was possible to try drilling again for oil in New Zealand, after earlier attempts in the 1930s. "Nobody else was interested in New Zealand, so we applied for a lot of [exploration] areas in New Zealand and they gave them all to us," Todd says. But deep drilling in Taranaki was beyond Todd's own financial resources. Shell was invited in and took 75 per cent of the share in the area around Kapuni, with Todd down to a quarter, but Shell paid for the drilling work. Under an international "knock for knock" agreement, BP came in too, taking half of Shell's 75 per cent. Shell BP Todd was formed to drill Kapuni. "By sheer good luck the first well which was drilled struck natural gas. It was a fluke in oil exploration. You are lucky to get one well in 10," Todd says. "For us to hit the first one gave us a great deal of strength of resolve to carry on, because we could not finance exploration activity over the years.  We could see there was gas there and that gave us enough encouragement to carry on. Todd Energy would not have its position today, if it were not for the fact we started off with 25 per cent of Kapuni." Later, BP sold out and Todd holds 50 per cent of the gas field.

The Kapuni field continues to be a significant producer of gas and LPG.

 Museum TownGas

Town Gas Supply

These are some entries from gas mains record books, the earliest dating back to 1876. Originally from the Wellington Gas Works in Miramar, they are now included in Powerco's collection (while the site has become a popular café!). The photo reflects the pre-natural gas era of town gas supplies, when gas was made from coal and transported in large (up to 24 inch) cast iron pipes. Wellington's gas reticulation started in 1869. The books evidence work done by ‘gangs’ and recorded by their foremen, including hand drawn as-built sketches. The level of detail (and the quality of hand writing) would be hard to replicate today even with electronic data capture and GIS.

- Stuart Dickson, Powerco

Museum BlueBook 

The ‘Blue Book’

This is the Liquigas ‘Blue Book’. New Zealand's LPG sector was one of the many benefits flowing from the Maui gas field. The Government recognised that it needed to create an organisation, Liquigas, to wholesale Maui LPG, and to develop and manage associated infrastructure. Key LPG sector participants were to be shareholders and that, with some changes, continues to be the case. The associated problem was that Liquigas' shareholders were essentially selling LPG and infrastructure access to themselves. The Blue Book was developed to address resulting potential competition concerns arising, and became central to managing the LPG sector right up to today. While its Maui LPG entitlements have now run out and LPG supply has diversified, Liquigas continues to play a central role in the sector, including in managing the nation's ever-changing requirements for LPG exports and imports, and associated onshore storage needs.

- Albert de Geest, Liquigas

 Museum Drillbit

A Bit About McKee

This drill bit was used during development drilling on the McKee field in Taranaki during the 1980s.  Discovered by state-owned Petrocorp in 1980, McKee was particularly significant as the first substantial oil and gas find since the industry-establishing Kapuni and Maui fields.  Today New Zealand has around 15 producing fields. McKee commenced production in 1984 from geologically complex accumulations that were initially given individual names – Pouri, Pukemai, Tuhua and Toe Toe.  These were ultimately consolidated under the ‘McKee’ name when it became apparent they were compartments of a single field. While the essence of drilling remains the same, developments in directional and horizontal drilling technology have enabled access to surrounding underground structures from a central surface position.   40 wells now feed into the McKee production station.  Today, McKee and the adjacent Mangahewa field are owned by Todd Energy, which is using drilling technology advances to give them a new lease of life, including to support expanded methanol production by Methanex.

Page last saved: November 16, 2017
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