Site Map

Print Page

Jobs Online











History of Natural Gas in NZ

The discovery of natural gas at the Kapuni gas field in Taranaki in 1959 was the first commercially viable find in New Zealand.

The Natural Gas Corporation was established by Government to buy, process and wholesale the new resource. By 1969 a pipeline had been constructed from Kapuni to both Auckland and Wellington and the following year a gas treatment plant was commissioned and bulk gas transmission began. This pipeline has now been extended as far as Gisborne and Hastings in the east, and Kauri in the far north.

Then, also in 1969, the major Maui offshore field was discovered. This discovery was large, even by world standards. A second pipeline was constructed to carry Maui gas from Oaonui on the Taranaki coast to Huntly and later Auckland, and by 1979 the Maui field was on-stream. The principal intended use for Maui gas was for electricity generation in a series of thermal power stations.

Natural gas quickly also became an important fuel of choice for residential, commercial, industrial, and for the “Think Big” projects, a core resource for the big petrochemical industry and electricity generation.

In 1992 a new Gas Act deregulated the Gas Sector, abolishing exclusive area retail franchises for gas utilities and price controls on gas. It also privatised the Natural Gas Corporation.

The impending run-out of Maui gas and the transition to future reliance on a wider range of gas sources, environmental and sustainability requirements, the need to facilitate competition and a requirement to establish a fair and open industry governance framework led Government to implement a new review of the sector beginning in 2001.

This resulted in the establishment of the Gas Industry Company. This is a co-regulatory body which can make recommendations to the Minister of Energy on a wide range of industry matters, including the making of rules and regulations regarding the wholesaling, retailing, transmission, processing and distribution of natural gas.

It is an industry owned entity and works with Government and the industry to achieve outcomes that meet the Government policy objectives under the 2004 Policy Statement on Gas Governance.