Fortescue Future Industries to investigate repurposing parts of New Zealand oil refinery

Dec 16, 2021

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) and Refining NZ (RNZ) have agreed to investigate repurposing facilities at the RNZ Marsden Point oil refinery to produce green hydrogen and green hydrogen products.

FFI and RNZ have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to study the commercial and technical feasibility of producing, storing, distributing, and exporting industrial-scale green hydrogen and green hydrogen products from the decommissioned RNZ site as it transitions to an import-only fuel terminal.

FFI will undertake feasibility studies which will assess key operational and commercial projections for the project and enable the development of a project timeline.

FFI Chairman and Founder Dr Andrew Forrest AO said this announcement was an important step forward in FFI’s plans to turn fossil fuel emitters into zero carbon green hydrogen producers worldwide.

“Green hydrogen can provide all sorts of advantages to local and export economies - and is the answer our planet needs now,” he said.

“Last week we announced we would look into producing green hydrogen at a retiring coal fired power station in Australia, yesterday we shared our decision to progress to the next stage converting a grey ammonia plant to green, and today we are looking to kick off something similar at Marsden Point oil refinery in New Zealand.

“Green hydrogen production at Marsden Point will potentially deliver energy security, good local jobs, and the decarbonisation of local heavy industry – all while reducing emissions for New Zealand,” Dr Forrest said.

The existing RNZ site has existing infrastructure such as a deep-water port, proximity to large electricity grid connections and an industrial water supply which FFI will investigate repurposing to produce green products.

Chief Executive Officer of RNZ, Naomi James said, “The potential of green hydrogen to support New Zealand’s energy transition is huge, so we are delighted that FFI has chosen to partner with us as we jointly to investigate what might be possible in years to come.”

FFI Director of Australia East and New Zealand, Felicity Underhill said, “As a New Zealander, I am keen for us to harness the immense potential of New Zealand to benefit from a green hydrogen industry.

“I look forward to working with RNZ, government, local Iwi and other communities to investigate the possibility of repurposing the Marsden Point site to produce green hydrogen,” Ms Underhill said.

RNZ is based in Marsden Point (two hours north of Auckland) and is the country’s only oil refinery and the leading supplier of refined petroleum products to the New Zealand market, including petrol, diesel, aviation fuel and other products.

In November 2021, the Board of RNZ made a final decision to convert the facility into an import only facility, which meant around 65 per cent of their existing site would be available for future growth opportunities once the transition had taken place, in April 2022. 

FFI is a global green energy company that is committed to producing zero-emission green hydrogen from 100 per cent renewable sources.