The Refinery to Auckland Pipeline is a critical part of the fuel supply chain
Contact First Gas on 0800 734 567
For any queries about the pipeline easement, including permits to work
The RAP is a 250mm wide pipe carrying diesel, petrol and jet fuel in controlled batches under farmland, towns and part of the Manukau Harbour to the Wiri fuel terminal in South Auckland. A small pipeline from Wiri supplies Jet fuel to Auckland International Airport.
The 170-kilometre pipeline is buried along the entire route and carries a potential volume of nine million litres. About half of the refinery’s production is distributed via the RAP. The balance is transported by coastal tanker and road to the rest of New Zealand.
Performance and Compliance
The pipeline operates under a mandatory Certificate of Fitness issued by an accredited Inspection Body on a five-yearly basis with annual surveillance audits for compliance and demonstration of its Integrity Management System. The RAP is currently Certified to ISO 14001 for its Environmental Management System (EMS). The EMS has been developed from the Code of Environmental Practice – Onshore Pipelines, produced by the Australian Pipelines Gas Association (APGA).
The management system has been set in place to ensure that all aspects of work performed by staff, contractors and service providers will have minimal impact on the environment – including landowners, public, flora and fauna and existing historical sites and infrastructure.
All known areas of sensitivity are red flagged on the one kilometre wide corridor from Marsden Point to Wiri in South Auckland. Our maps are reviewed for any new areas requiring additional protection for their sensitive nature. With the continued support of Refinery staff, contractors, consultants, local authorities and landowners, we’re able to maintain it to the ISO 14001 Standard.
The following Acts and Regulations pertain to pipelines:
- HS in E (Pipeline Regulations) Act
- Civil Defence Emergency Management Act
- Resource Management Act and relevant Regional and District Plan rules
Designation under the Resource Management Act (RMA)
The RAP was designated in 2009 and at the time, was New Zealand’s longest designation.
The pipeline is identified in district planning maps of three councils (Whangarei, Kaipara, Auckland) and appears in council computerised databases. The pipeline designations set out detailed conditions applying to works with the designated corridor complimenting the requirements in the pipeline easements.
The designated corridor is generally 12m wide symmetrically from the centre-line of the pipe, reduced to 6m within road and rail corridors. This maximises the protections from interference (including from directional drilling) while minimising interference to landowners and occupiers.
Within the corridor, third parties (including landowners and occupiers) cannot do anything that would “prevent or hinder” the RAP without our prior written approval. To meet the requirements of the Resource Management Act, any works affecting the designation require a s176 approval from the Refinery. For anyone looking to purchase, develop, or subdivide, Land Information Memoranda (LIMs) should clearly identify the pipeline designation. The pipeline is also registered on all relevant land titles.
- All landowners and occupiers should have an aerial map of their property showing an indicative location of the pipeline.
- Should works be required over or in proximity to the pipeline, it is a requirement to contact First Gas on 0800 734 567 who manage the easement on our behalf, to obtain both a locate and permit to do the work. Written approval from First Gas must be granted before works can be carried out.
- If you are a landowner or occupier with special requirements e.g. organic farming where no spraying is allowed, please contact us. This also applies to neighbours who would not normally be on our landowner database.
- Access to properties requires that landowners are sent a “Notice of pipeline easement patrol” card. This also allows both parties to agree on a suitable time and date and for the landowner to stipulate any specific HSE or environmental controls they need to allow access to third parties.
- Click here to view GIS maps for the entire length of the pipeline. The pipeline is also identified in the district planning maps/ GIS databases of the three councils it traverses Auckland, Kaipara and Whangarei.
- We welcome your feedback about easement management by First Gas and their contractor Treescape.
Monitoring and maintenance
Refining NZ has a comprehensive system for monitoring and maintenance of the pipeline. We have a contract with First Gas, which has the necessary specialist expertise, to monitor and inspect both the RAP and the natural gas pipeline within the shared pipeline corridor. The obligations are stringent and comprehensive. They include:
- Regularly sending every landowner and known occupier safety information and setting out the hazards of the pipeline and the need to contact First Gas prior to any work within the easement. The safety information is required to contain information on the potential consequences of damage to the RAP, and information about what to do in the event of an emergency.
- Identifying any changes in ownership of the land that the pipeline crosses and informing new owners and occupiers of their responsibilities by visiting them within one month and sending them a Safety Information Pack.
- Maintaining a database of contractors whose work could affect the RAP and sending them safety information on a regular basis.
- Undertaking regular surveillance, including monthly aerial inspection (by helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft), and regular on-ground vehicle patrols.
- Sending monthly reports to Refining NZ and reporting unauthorised activities as soon as practicable; meeting quarterly with Refining NZ.
- Identifying and remedying minor faults such as replacement of signs and weed spraying.
Signage on the pipeline is governed by the pipeline standard – AS2885. This provides guidance in respect of location types, design and content.
We are more stringent than the pipeline standard with the spacing of signage every 100-150 metres. In Auckland signage is on every power pole on the pipeline route and every 100 metres on kerb sides.
What pressure is the pipeline at?
It is currently at 75 barg or approximately 1100 psi. To put that in context, your car tires are pressured to 2.2 barg or around 32 psi.
Can I use the easement that the pipeline has on my property?
Under the terms of the pipeline easement you must obtain express permission from Refining NZ to carry out any work in the vicinity of the easement that is 375mm below the surface. We can provide free advice about driveways, planting or any other proposed uses.
What is the designation over my easement?
The designation was put in place by Refining NZ as a Requiring Authority to ensure that Council, potential developers and the general public are aware of the need not to do work on the pipelinecorridor. The pipeline corridor is shown on the Council District Plan Maps.
Does Refining NZ incorporate the Environment into their management of the Pipeline?
Refining NZ has its own Environmental Management System that is certified to ISO14001. We track all relevant features along the pipeline and we assess the work we do such as digging, weed control etc. against these features to ensure your property is properly protected.
Has the Refinery taken into account the heritage sites along the corridor?
All known heritage sites are listed in our GIS Information System (GIS). The GIS has layers of information showing Land Use, Waterways, Forests, and other relevant features along the pipeline corridor.
What must I do if I wish to subdivide my land?
Your subdivision is important to us and we would like to discuss it with you as early as possible. As a Requiring Authority Refining NZ’s approval is needed under s.176 of the Resource Management Act 1991 for any subdivision impacting the pipeline. We do not charge any fee for discussing your subdivision and obtaining our approval.
If I need to perform work on or adjacent to the Pipeline what should I do?
It is important that you notify and obtain either a Locate or a Permit through our Land Management Team at First Gas Ltd. You can do this by dialling 0800 734 567 – the number on all the signs on your fences or gates. Again this is a free service.
What is a PIG?
A Pipeline Integrity Gauge is an exceptionally accurate in line inspection tool used to determine the precise condition of the pipeline and ascertain where maintenance may be needed. We will always notify landowners and occupiers of an intended PIG ‘run’ as it can cause vibrations in the pipe which can be picked up and alarm any stock you may have grazing over the pipeline.
What do I do if I detect a leak or smell hydrocarbon?
For any emergency dial 0800 734 567.
What happens if I mistakenly dig and hit the pipeline?
Call 0800 734 567. The information will be relayed to us by First Gas Ltd. We can attend and ensure that the pipeline is made safe.