New Era of Open Access to the Maui Pipeline

On October 1, 2005 an open access pipeline regime for the Maui pipeline came into effect, allowing all parties to ship gas through the pipeline.

The Maui pipeline is New Zealand's largest capacity gas pipeline, extending from South Taranaki north to Huntly. The pipeline is owned by Maui Development Ltd (MDL), which is wholly owned by the partners, Shell, Todd, and OMV. Apart from the recent transport of small quantities of gas from the McKee and Mangahewa fields, the pipeline has been reserved for carrying gas from the Maui field, in accordance with the Maui gas contract.

The implementation of an open access regime is a significant step towards the development of a more complete and robust gas market. Open access will enable gas from a number of Taranaki fields under development, such as Pohokura and Kupe, to be transported to market. This will improve security of supply in the gas and electricity sectors.

The regime is based on an industry developed operating code. Industry representatives devoted a considerable amount of time to developing the regime over the last two years.

At an operational level, Maui pipeline open access will also require major commercial and physical changes to the inconnected NGC transmission system. These include amended commercial arrangements to reflect elements of the Maui pipeline operating code, the upgrade of metering and other systems instrumentation, and consequential upgrading of NGC's gas control facilities in New Plymouth.

Maui Development Ltd has been appointed NGS as the system operator for Maui open access. NGC will therefore manage access arrangements for both the Maui and NGC pipeline systems.

A manual system will be used until a web-based information platform, specifically tailored for open access administration in New Zealand, is commissioned in early 2006.

Parties interested in shipping gas on the Maui pipeline will need to enter into a Transmission Services Agreement (TSA) and an Interconnection Agreement (ICA) under the terms and conditions set in the operating code. NGC is the first party to execute a TSA and ICA on 21 September 2005, for arrangements that commenced on October 1, 2005.